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2011 European E. coli outbreak

Course video 1 of 10

In April 2011, hundreds of people in Germany were hospitalized with a deadly disease that often started as food poisoning with bloody diarrhea. It was the beginning of the deadliest outbreak in recent history, caused by a mysterious bacterial strain that we will refer to as E. coli X. Within a few months, the outbreak had infected thousands and killed 53 people. To prevent the further spread of the outbreak, computational biologists all over the world had to answer the question “What is the genome sequence of E. coli X?” in order to figure out what new genes it acquired to become pathogenic. The 2011 German outbreak represented an early example of epidemiologists collaborating with computational biologists to stop an outbreak. In this Genome Assembly Programming Challenge, you will follow in the footsteps of the bioinformaticians investigating the outbreak by developing a program to assemble the genome of the deadly E. coli X strain. However, before you embark on building a program for assembling the E. coli X strain, we have to explain some genomic concepts and warm you up by having you solve a simpler problem of assembling a small virus.

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