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Bioinformatics is a subdiscipline of biology and computer science concerned with the acquisition, storage, analysis, and dissemination of biological data, most often DNA and amino acid sequences. Bioinformatics uses computer programs for a variety of applications, including determining gene and protein functions, establishing evolutionary relationships, and predicting the three-dimensional shapes of proteins.

Learn more from scientific experts about Top Issues In Genetics /Bioinformatics at NHGRI's Talking Glossary

Materials for Bioinformatics


Modeling Infectious Diseases

Description: A fact sheet on how computers are being used to study the spread of infectious disease

NCBI Human Genome Resources

Description: This page serves as a guide to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) bioinformatics tools. The site sorts NCBI resources into categories like Find, View, Download and Learn, making it easier to find what you need.

The New Genetics - Life's Genetic Tree

Description: Information from a science education booklet that covers evolutionary biology, SNPs, model organisms, circadian rhythms, bioinformatics, and gene sequencing

What is Bioinformatics?

Description: Information on bioinformatics


Computers in science

Description: A quiz on bioinformatics for high school students

Computing life

Description: A bioinformatics cross-word puzzle

Interactive Tutorials

Click and Learn App

Description: Interactively explore topics in biology with the Click and Learn app. Each module features supporting videos and animations (Internet connection required). Learn about topics in evolution, neurobiology, infectious diseases, bioinformatics, stem cells, RNA, obesity, cancer, and genomics.

Teacher Resources

Advanced Bioinformatics: Genetic Research (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: A curriculum unit exploring how bioinformatics is used to perform genetic research. Specifically, the bioinformatics tools of BLAST, ORFinder, ClustalW and Cn3D are used to analyze genetic sequences.

Bioinformatics (PDF 13.91 KB, Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: Students use inquiry skills to make and test predictions about genes and their corresponding proteins, understand the use of bioinformatics programs, and pursue their own studies of genes and proteins of interest to them.

Drug-Resistant TB - A Genetic Analysis Using Online Bioinformatic Tools (PDF 311.28 KB, Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: This article describes a 90-minute real-world lesson in which students use online bioinformatics tools to compare gene sequences between one wild-type and one type of eight hypothetical mutant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) strains. Using bioinformatics online tools, students identify single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), translate each gene sequence to an amino acid sequence, and determine if the SNP in the variant sequence will affect structure and function of the protein (antibiotic resistance or susceptibility).

How does genotyping work? (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: Students learn about DNA extraction, PCR, restriction digest, and gel electrophoresis through a combination of virtual labs and class discussion. Students learn about the TAS2R38 gene which is involved in the ability to taste bitter foods. Students perform simple bioinformatics using primer sequences and allele sequences of TAS2R38.

Introductory Bioinformatics: Genetic Testing (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: A curriculum unit exploring how bioinformatics is applied to genetic testing. Specifically, the bioinformatics tools of BLAST and Cn3D are used to investigate the genetic and molecular consequences of a mutation to the Breast Cancer Susceptibility 1 (BRCA1) gene.


Leading Edge Bioinformatics

Description: Video on bioinformatics