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Molecular Evolution (Bioinformatics IV) (Cousera)

In this course, we will see how evolutionary trees resolve quandaries from finding the origin of a deadly virus to locating the birthplace of modern humans. We will then use methods from computational proteomics to test whether we can reconstruct Tyrannosaurus rex proteins and prove that birds evolved from dinosaurs.

In the first half of the course, we will discuss approaches for evolutionary tree construction that have been the subject of some of the most cited scientific papers of all time, and show how they can resolve quandaries from finding the origin of a deadly virus to locating the birthplace of modern humans.

In the second half of the course, we will shift gears and examine the old claim that birds evolved from dinosaurs. How can we prove this? In particular, we will examine a result that claimed that peptides harvested from a T. rex fossil closely matched peptides found in chickens. In particular, we will use methods from computational proteomics to ask how we could assess whether this result is valid or due to some form of contamination.

Finally, you will learn how to apply popular bioinformatics software tools to reconstruct an evolutionary tree of ebolaviruses and identify the source of the recent Ebola epidemic that caused global headlines.

Molecular Evolution (Bioinformatics IV) is course 4 of 7 in the Bioinformatics Specialization.

Who is this class for: This course is primarily aimed at undergraduate-level learners in computer science, biology, or a related field who are interested in learning about how the intersection of these two disciplines represents an important frontier in modern science.