Virtual Bacterial Identification Introduction
Welcome to the Virtual Bacterial
Identification Lab. The purpose of the lab is to familiarize you with the
science and techniques used to identify different types of bacteria based
on their DNA sequence. Not long ago, DNA sequencing was a time-consuming,
tedious process. With readily available commercial equipment and kits, it
is now routine. The techniques used in this lab are applicable in a wide
variety of settings, including scientific research and forensic labs.
The piece of DNA used for identifying bacteria is the region that codes for a
small subunit of the ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA). We will refer to this piece
as 16S rDNA. Different bacterial species have unique 16S rDNA sequences.
The identification relies on matching the sequence from your sample against
a database of all known 16S rDNA sequences. (Learn
more about ribosomal RNA.)
Throughout each exercise, this window will display information explaining what
you are doing. All the interactions, however, will be done inside the graphic window to
the left. The small white box below the graphic will give you specific instructions on what objects to click on.