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

948 ratings

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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126 - 150 of 228 Reviews for Finding Hidden Messages in DNA (Bioinformatics I)

By Jaewoo S

Apr 24, 2017

The content is so good.

By Shengbo W

Sep 10, 2018

It is really helpful!

By Muhammad K T

Jun 15, 2017

Very Informative...

By Karen G

Feb 9, 2017

great introduction!

By Wenbing Y

Oct 20, 2016

Great course. Learn

By Victor C

Mar 3, 2019

Loving it so far.

By Dmitry G

May 26, 2016

Excellent course!

By Purger T

Sep 13, 2021

fantastic course

By Shreedevi B B

May 16, 2020

good experience

By Shweta C

Aug 4, 2017

Great Course !!

By Anagha R

May 15, 2020

really helpful

By Xiaoyu Z

Oct 20, 2016

Great Course!

By Ursu E

Jan 23, 2017

Great course

By Ziyue L

Oct 27, 2016

It is great!


Jun 8, 2020

nice course

By Rajat S 1

Jun 3, 2020

it was nice

By qi w

Mar 2, 2020

Very clear!

By Luis S M F

Jun 4, 2020

Super cool

By Weidong X

Nov 25, 2016

very good.

By Gustavo M A A

Aug 28, 2021


By Greta G

Jan 11, 2019


By Dante D B

Dec 26, 2022

First of all, thank you to Pavel Pevzner and Phillip Compeau for providing this cheap and easy access to bioinformatics education. As someone with biochemistry background, I am using this course to learn coding for bioinformatic applications. The descriptions of molecular processes and genetics were well done but irrelevant to me, as I am already familiar. On the other hand, I felt that very little instruction was given about actual coding. I understand that this is because the course description claims it isn't primarily about coding, and that all coding assignments were optional. That being said, I think this class is completely pointless without coding, and its greatest flaw is that it attempts to appeal to a wider audience by pretending you can learn bioinformatics without learning coding. The fact that you can get a certificate without actually writing any code diminishes the value of the certificate. That little golden "Honors" band is the only distinction between people who actually learned bioinformatics and people who know how to click "next", and I don't think that distinction would be clear to any employers.

By Owen J J

Jan 4, 2017

This is certainly not a course for beginners! The content of the course were rather complex and prior computer science knowledge is extremely helpful to finish this course. It was a struggle for me to finish this course without any background in computer science. However, it was definitely challenging and gave me an insight on how two different disciplines can be connected in a single field of study. The only improvement I could think of is if there were videos regarding the basic computer science knowledge that could have helped biologists such as myself. Perhaps giving an example on how things are done could be useful. There were only a handful of examples and the examples only gave the answers but did not explain how to get that answer well enough.

By Jennifer M M

Apr 30, 2018

Great course. Good introduction to applying computer science to real biology problems. Only cons to this course is that it tries to split the line between biologists wanting to learn more bioinformatics and data scientists wanting to learn bioinformatics which boils down to the coding being tough and at times not well explained and there not being enough explanation for the biology part. I wouldn't take this if you don't have any coding skills because without working through the coding challenges the course isn't useful and for those with what would be more novice coding skills (like me) be prepared to spend a lot of time on this course. Well worth the challenge.

By Micheal A

Jun 25, 2018

I found this course incredibly enlightening and because I feel so highly of it I'm going to buy the accompanying book. My one issue is with peer evaluation of the final assignment, I don't believe in peer evaluation in situations where the peers may not be trained. What if one of the graders don't understand why they have a question wrong, despite having seen the answers. I don't think such a person should be allowed to perform evaluations. That being said,all the algorithms and the explanations behind them, super interesting and because I have taken this course and learned what I have, I am now considering graduate school in this field.