Annotation for Amateurs

Teacher Information

Introduction & Learning Goals

The student activities on this site are designed to introduce the process of gene annotation. Gene annotation is an excellent opportunity for students to apply their knowledge of molecular biology and contribute to the scientific community. Knowing how to annotate genes will also teach students about different models used to represent genes and can lead to a deeper understanding of bioinformatics and its role in genomics.

The following is a list of vocabulary and concepts that students will be exposed to during these activities.

Ab initio Gene Annotation Acceptor Site Plant Genome Database
Alternative Splicing Donor Site Genomic DNA
Complementary DNA (cDNA) Expressed Sequence Tag (EST Splice Alignment Gene Annotation
Clone Pair Reverse Transcriptase GeneSeqer
Untranslated Region (UTR) mRNA Processing Open Reading Frame
Reading Frame mRNA transcript Splice Site

In order to develop a solid understanding of what is contained in the activities and where these activities might fit into the curriculum, it is recommended that teachers work through these activities on their own, before introducing them to their students.

Potential places in the curriculum to incorporate these activities include using gene annotation to follow a unit of study on Gene Regulation, Bioinformatics, or Biotechnology Applications. AP Biology teachers may find that these activities are appropriate for the end of the term, after students have completed the AP Biology Exam.

The following excerpts from the National Science Education Standards provide a general idea of the types learning goals one might set for students who complete the activities in the Student Section of this site. Click on the banner for the source document.

CONTENT AREA As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop:

Science As Inquiry

  • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
  • Understandings about scientific inquiry

Physical Science

  • Structure and properties of matter
  • Chemical reactions (interactions)

Life Science

  • The cell
  • Molecular basis of heredity

History & Nature of Science

  • Science as a human endeavor
  • Historical perspectives