In the spring of 2020, remote learning was implemented in schools throughout the world due to the pandemic of SARS CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. Thrust into online instruction, many science teachers scrambled during this transition, and classes were severely hampered by a lack of hands-on investigations involving critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In response to a need for online experimentation, bioinformatics lessons centered around SARS-CoV-2 were developed. This article presents a multipart bioinformatics lesson that allows students to (1) compare spike protein sequences from the database portal NCBI Virus, to investigate whether this protein would be a good target for a vaccine against COVID-19; and (2) create phylogenetic trees and demonstrate evolutionary relatedness of human coronaviruses. This lesson allows for instruction in molecular biology, virology, immunology, bioinformatics, and phylogenetics, as well as analysis of scientific data. It is appropriate for high school AP Biology and biotechnology courses and can be taught entirely online.

You do not currently have access to this content.