The primary objective of this course is to give you extensive familiarity with finishing and annotating genomic DNA sequences. This will come as a result of using the strategies and computer tools used by professional genomics researchers to both finish and annotate raw sequence data generated by the Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University, St. Louis, and by reading and discussing articles on genomics-related topics throughout the semester.
Over the course of the semester you will become painfully familiar with the admittedly specialized software used in finishing and annotation, which you may well never encounter again (and by the end of the semester you will no doubt be very grateful that that is the case!). Much more important is the increased knowledge you'll have about gene and genome structure, how knowledge in the field of genomics is acquired and integrated, and the value of genomics research in the larger scientific scheme of things.
Our readings will expose you to discoveries and challenges in recent research articles. Although (depending on your future career) the specifics will not be especially important to you, I hope that our readings and discussions will help you become better at effectively gaining valuable insights from the literature of whatever area you find yourself in in future.
You will also gain experience in writing reports describing the process and results of your experiences and in presenting those results orally. In addition, you will evaluate the oral presentations of your peers, another skill more widely applicable than in just this field.
Finally, all students who participate fully in the course will be included as authors on the (eventual) papers which result from this work; participating in the pulse-pounding excitement that is manuscript revision is an adventure not to be missed!
To summarize, after successfully completing this course, students will have:
- acquired extensive familiarity with computer programs used professionally to assemble and analyze genomic sequence data
- learned how such data is interpreted in the primary literature
- become familiar with the impact of genomics research on current questions in biology and medicine
- improved their ability to present the results of their own research, both in writing and orally
- gained critical insights into the criteria for successful presentations by evaluating the presentations of their peers
- earned the right to be included as an author on any publications incorporating data derived from their work in this course