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BLASTing through the kingdom of life

Grade Levels
10th - 12th, Higher Education, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF
  • Internet Activities
Compatible with Digital Devices
The Teacher-Author has indicated that this resource can be used for device-based learning.


BLAST is the most commonly used bioinformatics program. I created this bioinformatics activity with funding from the National Science Foundation a few years ago. Since then, I've updated the instructions and added more questions and example answers. This activity has been quite popular and is used by community college, University, and high school teachers throughout the world.

In this activity, students use "unknown" sequences to search GenBank with a search tool called "blastn." The BLAST family of programs are very common tools in biological research and biotechnology. After doing the search, students answer questions about their results.

Links to the data set and an on-line tutorial can be found here at BLAST for beginners.

I recently updated the answer key and you can get it here. There's also a Teachers Guide Ebook that walks through the answers for each sequence and explains the results. You can find our teachers guide in the iTunes Book store or get the PDF version here!
Total Pages
0 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 hours
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