Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • describe SNPs and indels;
  • summarize the process used to generate a sequence alignment;
  • identify locations and types of mutations in a sequence alignment;
  • describe the connection between a DNA sequence alignment and a phylogenetic tree; and
  • interpret a cladogram.

References and Sources

Barber, R.D. and Maiers, J. A “Game” Introduction to Bioinformatic Sequence Comparisons. The American Biology Teacher 69: 359-364.

Baum, D.A., et al. The Tree-Thinking Challenge. 2005 Science 310: 979-980.

Baum, D.A. and Offner, S. Phylogenies and Tree-Thinking. 2008 The American Biology Teacher 70: 222-229.

Gibas, C. and Jambeck, P. Developing Bioinformatics Computer Skills, 1st ed. 2001, O’Reilly & Associates, Inc.

Meir, E. et al. College Students’ Misconceptions about Evolutionary Trees. 2007 The American Biology Teacher Online 71-76.

EBI ClustalW2 website, http://www.ebi.ac.uk/Tools/msa/clustalw2/.

Photos: Wet specimens, Herrera/Thinkstock; corn snake, gorilla, chimpanzee, lizard, apples to oranges, iStockphoto/Thinkstock; bearded dragon, BrandXPictures/Thinkstock; orangutan, Anup Shah/Photodisc/Thinkstock; cone snail tree figure, Fig. 1 from Olivera, Journal of Biological Chemistry 281 (2006): 31175 ©The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology