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Finding Hidden Messages in DNA (Bioinformatics I), University of California San Diego

419 ratings
89 reviews

About this Course

Named a top 50 MOOC of all time by Class Central! This course begins a series of classes illustrating the power of computing in modern biology. Please join us on the frontier of bioinformatics to look for hidden messages in DNA without ever needing to put on a lab coat. In the first half of the course, we investigate DNA replication, and ask the question, where in the genome does DNA replication begin? We will see that we can answer this question for many bacteria using only some straightforward algorithms to look for hidden messages in the genome. In the second half of the course, we examine a different biological question, when we ask which DNA patterns play the role of molecular clocks. The cells in your body manage to maintain a circadian rhythm, but how is this achieved on the level of DNA? Once again, we will see that by knowing which hidden messages to look for, we can start to understand the amazingly complex language of DNA. Perhaps surprisingly, we will apply randomized algorithms, which roll dice and flip coins in order to solve problems. Finally, you will get your hands dirty and apply existing software tools to find recurring biological motifs within genes that are responsible for helping Mycobacterium tuberculosis go "dormant" within a host for many years before causing an active infection....

Top reviews


Jul 30, 2018

This course is very very good. Challenging at times. It does not hold your hand at all times and sometimes requires research to solve some of the problems, but I like the community and the approach.


Nov 13, 2017

Very tough but rewarding class. The programming part was easy, the algorithms kicked my butt. Love the challenge and can't wait to take the rest!!! Such an interesting field!

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85 Reviews

By Meng Zhang

Mar 04, 2019

The course is great!

By Victor Calderon

Mar 03, 2019

Loving it so far.

By Fabio James Fehr

Feb 17, 2019

Some activities were unnecessary but coding up the algorithms was a treat :)

By Mousa Jafar Alhaddad

Feb 12, 2019

A really nice course that links biology and programming

By Yousef Abdulaziz S Alghofaili

Jan 12, 2019

I really liked the course, I had fun finishing assignments and learning the theory behind each concept. However, I take my time very seriously and this course has underrated the time you should devote as I end up having too much pressure due to other work I should be doing.

By Greta Garcia Hernandez

Jan 11, 2019


By Cagdas Ucar

Jan 05, 2019

The answers are stale. MEME tool results don't match what they expect. It takes a while to find students to review.

By Ahmad Abu-Aysheh

Dec 31, 2018

One of the best courser, I took ever!

By Julian Alexander Stanley

Oct 16, 2018

Clear and well-formatted. No instructional support in the forums was disappointing, though.

By Olaf Wied

Oct 02, 2018

Great content, very well structured. Loved the interactive text with the graded coding exercises.