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Resources for Undergraduate Courses in Bioinformatics: Background Readings for Computer Science Students

By Diane P. Genereux

Background Readings for Computer Science Students

Certain books and online resources may be of particular use to computer science students not well versed in basic biology and genetics. Many of these are either freely accessible online, or available for low-cost download, especially attractive features for materials that students may want as supplements to readings assigned as part of the main curriculum. Among the available books, William Cohen’s A Computer Scientist’s Guide to Cell Biology introduces lab-based methods for collecting biological data, and, in parallel, highlights data-analysis challenges. The National Human Genomics Research Institute’s website Introduction to Genomics offers graphical representation of basic cellular processes. NHGRI is primarily aiming at a younger audience, but the strong visual focus of the site will aid all students in understanding cellular processes across levels of biological organization. NHGRI also hosts the frequently updated online list Genomics Education Websites, which includes several resources of potential interest to bioinformatics students wishing to address specific knowledge gaps. The Scitable learning portal, a project of Nature Publishing Group operated through its Nature Education division, provides a comprehensive overview of genetics. Though most resources lean a bit toward classical genetics rather than genomics, the site is helpful in linking fundamental biological process to contemporary data-collection techniques.