SCF Biotechnology Students Contribute to International DNA Database

(Bradenton, Fla., Jan. 26, 2016) – A DNA sequence identified by biotechnology students at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) has been entered into Genbank, the National Institutes of Health Genetic Sequence Database. Started in December 1982 with 606 sequences, the repository is part of the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration.  It now has over 188,372,017 sequences deposited, 10 of which were contributed by SCF.

In the spring of 2014, student Stephanie Morgan isolated an organism that the SCF Biotechnology class nicknamed “Pink.” Excited about the discovery, Dr. Matthew Thomas and Dr. Eric Warrick, SCF Natural Sciences professors, made the decision to work with the Small World Initiative (SWI), a project originated at Yale University that strives to combine technology, science and innovation to make meaningful and measurable improvements in the global education and healthcare landscape.  SCF was one of 25 colleges and universities nationwide selected for the Yale SWI pilot project.

“This collaboration allowed the Biotechnology class to work on something new and exciting while they mastered techniques that are important work force skills,” said Thomas. “The combined work of SWI and Biotech at SCF, Florida Southern College and New College has resulted in a manuscript we plan to submit shortly. Thomas plans further collaborations between the Biotechnology class and SWI in the future.

According to Thomas, the Genbank database is used by researchers all over the world to try to understand genetic issues by comparing DNA sequences and sharing information. “SCF has now contributed in a small way to the body of knowledge available to the world through this free access database,” he said. 

While at SCF, Morgan presented this information at the American Society of Microbiology. She since has transferred to New College of Florida and continues to work on this organism as part of her senior thesis.  Information about the organism was also presented at the BioFlorida BioTech Expo in November at SCF Lakewood Ranch. 

SCF’s Biotechnology Program prepares students for a career in advanced molecular biology techniques used in research and industrial environments. For more information about the SCF Biotechnology Program, call 941-752-5341 or email To view a video featuring SCF’s Associate in Science in Biotechnology Degree Program, visit

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