Introducing high school students to the Gene Ontology classification system [version 4; peer review: 3 approved, 1 approved with reservations]

Mehek Dedhia, Kenneth Kohetuk, Wim E. Crusio, Anna Delprato
F1000Res. 2019-08-06; 8: 241
DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.18061.4

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We present a tutorial that introduces high school students to the Gene Ontology classification system which is widely used in genomics and systems biology studies to characterize large sets of genes based on functional and structural information. This classification system is a valuable and standardized method used to identify genes that act in similar processes and pathways and also provides insight into the overall architecture and distribution of genes and gene families associated with a particular tissue or disease. By means of this tutorial, students learn how the classification system works through analyzing a gene set using DAVID the Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Discovery that incorporates the Gene Ontology system into its suite of analysis tools. This method of analyzing genes is used by our high school student interns to categorize gene expression data related to behavioral neuroscience. Students will get a feel for working with genes and gene sets, acquire vocabulary, obtain an understanding of how a database is structured and gain an awareness of the vast amount of information that is known about genes as well as the online analysis tools to manage this information that is nowadays available. Based on survey responses, students intellectually benefit from learning about the Gene Ontology System and using the DAVID tools, they are better prepared for future database use and they also find it enjoyable.

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