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IMG-ACT (IMG Annotation Collaboration Toolkit) was developed by the JGI’s Genomics and Bioinformatics Education Program, in collaboration with undergraduate faculty. Bringing bioinformatics into undergraduate life sciences courses is one way to provide opportunities to large numbers of students to learn to use state-of-the-art bioinformatics tools to explore real data. Genomics not only offers a new way to teach foundational concepts, but it also can be used to show how bioinformatic algorithms are mathematical articulations of biological principles. Given that DNA sequence is the lingua franca of biology, genomics and bioinformatics also provides a unifying thread across the undergraduate life sciences curriculum and can be used in introductory through capstone courses as well as provide the tools and data for undergraduate research projects based on bioinformatics.
Since the publication of Incorporating Genomics and Bioinformatics Across the Life Sciences Curriculum: Development and Implementation of the Integrated Microbial Genomes Annotation Collaboration Toolkit , new features are becoming available. They include a set of modules for exploring metagenomes1 and (coming soon) for identifying and characterizing a set of cyanobacterial genes (including newly available data from the CyanoGEBA Project) that encode multi-protein complexes involved in photosynthesis, using a plant genome as a template. 2 In addition to aiding understanding of the structural basis of light harvesting, this set of modules enables exploration of the evolutionary relationship between plant and cyanobacterial genes. The development of these new features was supported by the NSF.
1With support from NSF, MCB0851094
2With support from NSF, EF1105897