Title: Understanding the lac operon with GeneAct

Authors: Xiaoli Yang; Bin Chen; Yifan Cai; Charles Tseng

Addresses: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University Calumet, 2200 169th street, Hammond, Indiana, 46323, USA ' Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University Calumet, 2200 169th street, Hammond, Indiana, 46323, USA ' Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University Calumet, 2200 169th street, Hammond, Indiana, 46323, USA ' Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University Calumet, 2200 169th street, Hammond, Indiana, 46323, USA

Abstract: GeneAct is a new framework developed to accelerate the coding of interactive programs for learning genetics. In this paper, the framework is used to create an interactive program for understanding the lac operon. Gene regulation, an inherent property of all organisms, is responsible for growth and development, as well as for an organism's ability to respond to changes in the environment. To illustrate the mechanisms of gene regulation, we highlight the operon system in bacteria because it is well defined and has widely been investigated. The control of the genes of the lac operon depends upon the availability of - and the nature of - the carbon source used for energy metabolism in bacteria. The interactive program based on GeneAct provides clearly defined tutorial tools for: 1) reading and thinking about the subject; 2) visualising the processes involved in regulating genes; 3) controlling the various molecular elements in the processes.

Keywords: lac operon; gene regulation; interactive programs; coding; genetics education; tutorial tools; GeneAct; carbon source; energy metabolism; bacteria.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCBDD.2015.071127

International Journal of Computational Biology and Drug Design, 2015 Vol.8 No.2, pp.168 - 188

Published online: 13 Aug 2015 *

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