Research week 2: The Versatility of Genbank

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Hi everyone! I have completed my second week of research and am now just beginning my third 😊.

Last week, I finally got to work on my project after learning the basics of coding needed to compile my various datasets, which was very exciting. I also bought frog-themed pins to really immerse myself in my passion for amphibian research.

On Tuesday morning I had a very productive meeting with my supervisor regarding my next steps forward in my research. Afterwards, I got straight into my schedule for week two. I am using the gene sequence of one amphibian, Bufo gargarizans, known to be resistant to chytridiomycosis infection, to compare against sequences stored within the Genbank genetic database of the NCBI website. I used BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool) to compare the protein sequence from B. gargarizans to the nucleotide sequences available in Genbank and obtained over 100 results from many different amphibian species!

This collected data needed to be read into python so I can extract the necessary data for my subsequent alignments and comparisons (which are happening this week!). I am delighted that I got to put my very new and limited python coding skills into practice as working on real-life examples always succeeds in cementing information learned. Also, it made me feel as though those hours spent on my first week of research learning the basics of python were well worth my time.

I look forward to delving into the data I’ve collected this week. I hope everyone is having/had an amazing time on your research projects, I’ve never had such an awarding experience!

Jessica Mahon

Human Genetics undergraduate student , Trinity College Dublin

Hi, I'm Jessica Mahon, and I am interested in genetics, both from a conservation and a human standpoint. I'm in 3rd year of Human Genetics at Trinity College Dublin. I'm from Ireland and speak both English and Irish. I spend my spare time taking part in yoga, meditating and enjoying the outdoors. 

My Laidlaw research project is based on the genetic susceptibility of amphibians to chytridiomycosis disease to find a new conservation method for susceptible amphibian species. I'd love to chat with others who are interested in genetics and science!