NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) offers a vast database of DNA sequences.
I visited their site to see if I can find information about the last version of the menacing coronavirus.
Yes, that is available. It is precisely named: coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and a long list of its DNA sequences is there.
I had worked, long years ago, on DNA sequences analysis and felt like giving a try to see how that sequence can be presented… just to see!
My old app (MFC, C++ app) could open and analyze the sequence. DNA sequence analysis is a long story. As far as I could learn: locate repeats (fragments that are repeated on the sequence), locate 'hairpins' (fragments of complementary nucleotides: a<=>T and g<=>c)… etc.
The old app did not seem quite handy to manipulate the downloaded sequence, so I started writing a new WPF one.
A few hours later, the app could display the sequence in a somehow 'visual appealing' UI, which invited to go ahead for some more significant work.
Covid-19 is not for fun!
Yes, it is not really for fun! I am not yet sure how such work can be useful, but whatever effort everyone can provide might be of help in defeating this new danger. Let us start and see!
For now, what I intend to do is:
- Port the biotechnology features of the old app to a new handy UI;
- Publish the app online for biotechnology engineers working on the subject: and get their feedback
- Upload the source code to github for IT community feedback and contributions
It is a very small step in a long way to defeat that epidemic.
More on this in the next few days / weeks.