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Scribed by: Olga Russakovsky

CS262: Lecture 1

I. Introduction

All information about the class can be found at cs262.stanford.edu. It is useful to note the staff’s office hours (Professor Batzoglou: Tue 4:15-5:30, George: Wed 4-6, Andreas: Thu 12:30- 2:30) and that the first half hour of the Wednesday and Thursday’s slots will be devoted primarily to SCPD students. During the TA’s hours, they can also be reached via AIM and phone as needed (all details are on the website).

There is a mailing list set up through Axess and a newsgroup su.class.cs262 which is not monitored. There will be an optional but useful section every Friday.

  • II.

    Biological Background

    • A.

      The Birth of Molecular Biology

There are many words to describe the field now: bioinformatics, molecular biology, computational genomics. 50 years ago, there was no such area of research; biologists were mainly studying individual animals. It is now believed that the field began with the discovery of the double-helix structure of the DNA molecule, by the ornithologist Watson and physicist Crick.

DNA is a macromolecule which contains all necessary information for an organism to grow, develop and reproduce. The structure of a strand of DNA and an individual nucleotide are diagramed below.

Figure 1. The double-stranded structure of a DNA molecule.

Figure 2. Diagram of a nucleotide. The sugar and phosphate group are always the same for

all nucleotides, but there are four possible nitrogenous bases – adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T).

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