Gene sequences and the rest of the genome play an important role in determining how an organism functions normally and reacts when situations change. DNA sequences can also be used to determine relationships between organisms and form the underpinnings of the Tree of Life.
Since DNA sequences play such an important role in any organism it should not be surprising that any changes to a sequence could lead to alterations in behavior or response. For example, a small number of specific changes in DNA sequence have been shown to lead to tumor development in mammals or the production of enzymes with altered properties.
One of the jobs of a bioinformatician is to help determine where these changes are in a DNA sequence and sort out in that context what effects may result, which is usually done by aligning the sequences in question.
In this course, part of the Bioinformatics MicroMasters program, you will learn about the theory and algorithms behind DNA alignments, practice doing alignments manually, and then perform more complicated alignments using web and software based approaches.