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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Finding Hidden Messages in DNA (Bioinformatics I) by University of California San Diego

914 ratings
221 reviews

About the 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 29, 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.


Apr 6, 2020

Excellent introduction to bioinformatics. They put a lot of heart and thought into the design of the course. I will continue to use the concepts I've learned in and out of bioinformatics.

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26 - 50 of 220 Reviews for Finding Hidden Messages in DNA (Bioinformatics I)

By Ognjen G

Mar 9, 2022

Poorly designed, confusing and not very engaging. Problems are not explained corectly, they use a Pseudocode which is useless in 2022. No programming basics, nothing, just straight into problem solving with zero help. Dissapointing.

By Bakhtiyar T

Jun 11, 2020

Take this course only if you are doing honors track, I cannot think of anything that you can learn from this course if you do not involve and improve your programming skills by applying them to the topics.

Videos were not very helpful, interactive texts were more informative. However interactive texts could not be understood in its totality were it not for the charitable efforts of few students to explain and clear out any inconsistencies in the discussion forms. Staff was not involved in these discussion forms and some of the obvious bugs and lack of explanations were not improved and fixed despite being mentioned multiple times during more than 5 years of the courses existence.

Lastly, they requested me to review/mark others students assignments in the last week in order for me to complete the course? That did not appeal to me very much since this course is paid.

This course could offer much more if they tried to improve it consistently overtime and pay attention to the reviews they get from students in discussion forms.

By Kimberly G

Oct 20, 2021

The first quiz has 2 out of 5 questions that were not taught in the videos. Since there is no way to answer the questions, and therefore no way to pass the quiz, you can not move forward. This is the only course I had to drop.

By Akruti I

Sep 29, 2020

how do i unroll ??? the course introduction explainined 'NO need of coding but needs hard coding skills' im enable to do the assignments .i want to leave the course and i cant find the option to leave.

By Johany C S G

Jan 5, 2021

Este curso y la especializacion en general, no esta enfocado a biologos, biotecnologos ni otras carreras de biologia y salud. Es una estafa, me arrepiento infinitamente.

By sakshi b

Feb 13, 2021

as you proceed this becomes more difficult and unexplanatory

you need proper guidance and good hands on knowledge of coding before starting this course

By Zhenan L

Aug 26, 2019

some technical problem, those explanation figure not working.

By Brisa G

Aug 24, 2021

Muito difícil, não recomendo para iniciantes como eu.

By Deleted A

Aug 23, 2020

I am unable to make progress due to old deadlines ...

By Prathna

Apr 25, 2021

Can't find answers for any quiz questions

By Fidan Q

Jul 20, 2020

too hard for understanding i want to quit

By ali f

Jun 9, 2020

videos are not covering quizzes.

By 우재웅

Feb 2, 2021

too many things do not work

By Sakshar C

May 29, 2020

The course was very well designed to engage any one with CS background to get highly motivated to learning Bioinformatics. Personally, I have found the humorous representations of the instructors very appealing and also enjoyed the programming challenges. Moreover, it helped me to develop an insight to connect my CS knowledge for solving Biological problems. I am looking forward to completing the full specialization.

By Darius F

Feb 4, 2018

Well made introduction into the field. Good programming exercises which are easy to medium difficulty with a computer science background. It feels like they put a lot of thought into the course structure. Some of the biological explanations are too brief without a biological background, and I would guess the same for students without a computer science background regarding the exercises.

By Victoria T A

Jan 29, 2021

This is an amazing course for me and a perfect choice at that. I am a pure biologist and the computer science aspect bit was indeed challenging being the first time of my doing such ever. I will be starting my PhD (topic - antibiotic resistance) in a few weeks that requires knowledge & skills in bioinformatics. I believe this course has sure prepared me for what is to come. Thank you!

By Robert K

Aug 30, 2016

This was fantastic course! I've never experienced such passion in an online course. I've learned so much, and I am striving for more... fortunately this is just the beginning. No wonder it has been proclaimed as one of the 50 most popular MOOCs of all time. Not because it is popular you should take it, it has become popular because it is just marvellous.

Worth it!

By bob n

Jul 16, 2020

Thoroughly enjoyed the course. Was a big help to have taken the intro class first. Instructors did a reasonable job of leading one through the material. Would have preferred more lecture, less reading, but not enough to knock a star off the rating. Material well organized. As some with an engineering background, the biology was mostly well explained.

By Iman N

Jul 16, 2021

It is a very useful course; however, it would be much better if the instructors recommend the "Biology Meets Programming: Bioinformatics for Beginners" course specially for Biologists who want to start this course. Although no programming experience was required during the course, being familiar with the basis of programming would be so helpful.

By Ranakombu K K D S

Apr 12, 2020

A well-structured and amazing course that provides a wealth of knowledge in bioinformatics including an optional honors track for programming. Thoroughly enjoyed it and excited to continue with the rest of the Specialization! A big thank you to the creators of this brilliant course. Simply one of the best courses on Coursera!

By Comfort A

Sep 13, 2020

I am so overwhelmed. I learnt a whole lottttt. I learnt how to create motif logos, identify ori and terminus using skew diagrams, amongst others. As a biologist, I was really discouraged at the beginning because of the series of referring links, but I am happy that I could see the end of the course. Thanks for the content.

By Tirthankar S

Apr 2, 2018

One of the best online courses I've ever taken. Since I come from a biotechnology background, this course was particularly relevant for me in terms of its depth and thoroughness. Seriously considering a future in computational biology, thanks to this course.

By Manuel A

Jul 25, 2016

Very good course, but at the same time very hard. Unless you have quite a bit of experience programing, be prepared to spend at least 15 hours a week working on this class. The good news is that if you do spend that time, you will learn a lot.

By Hercules P N

May 9, 2017

Excellent course. It can be tough at times but it is amazingly accessible to all who are genuinely interested. The final assignment was very well prepared and gave a real hands-on experience that puts the course into practice.

By Krishnendu S

Mar 28, 2019

Exceptionally beautiful course. Must be for those want to start career in bioinformatics. But prior basic knowledge in any programming language would be appropriate if someone wants to extract every aspect of this course.