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Steven Frank profile image
Steven Frank profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 59 reviews
  • 57 completed
3 years, 8 months ago
This is, by far, the most difficult segment I've encountered in this course series (having taken parts I through V). It addresses two fascinating high-level questions in biology: how do we know what evolv... This is, by far, the most difficult segment I've encountered in this course series (having taken parts I through V). It addresses two fascinating high-level questions in biology: how do we know what evolved from what, and why does T. rex look so much like a chicken? That first question has very practical implications in identifying the animal source of viruses such as the SARS pathogen, but answering it requires a deep dive into the challenging topics of phylogenies and evolutionary trees. Here the hacker track offers up some pretty serious ruts and bumps, with problems that may have you forgetting about the biological dimension altogether as you ponder leaves and limbs and other rarefied artifacts of graph theory that can be pretty tough to turn into working code. Then it's a sudden turn into the world of computational proteomics, which re-introduces mass spectrometry (originally covered in part I) but with newer and hairier twists. Once again the broader biological questions dissolve somewhat in the technical details of analyzing spectra (and more graph theory), but spectrometry is itself such a basic analytical tool for quantitative biologists that you never feel too far removed from the science. Overall, this course segment is tough, but also rewarding once you bend all that graph theory to your will -- and forewarned is forearmed.
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