What is bioinformatics?

Bioinformatics is a multidisciplinary science that combines the knowledge of biology, computer sciences, and information technology into a single discipline. It aims to support life sciences using computer-based technology. In simplifies terms, bioinformatics tries to answer a range of biology and molecular biology questions using a computer.

In the past, most of the work-related biology took place in laboratories or science institutes where researchers used microscopes and other lab equipment to study biological phenomena. However, the rapid development of information and genomic technology, as well as laboratory equipment, methods and protocols have enabled scientists to take a different approach to their attempts to understand the complicated natural processes that happen in living organisms. Technology has transformed microbiology from science that previously collected data, to science that produces vast quantities of information. To analyze and assess these data, microbiology can now rely on advanced computer processing and graphics tools that help researchers model even the most complex 3D protein structures in virtual reality. Bioinformatics has also created sophisticated analytic systems that can search international databases and compare various genetic sequences or protein structures. The area that integrates the data from proteomics, genomics, and other areas of biology and gives them a whole-system view is called systems biology.   

Bioinformatics originated from the use of various databases that contained biological data. The data were combined and stored in the first specialized biological or bioinformatics databases created after the public announcement of the amino acids sequence back in 1956. Afterward, bioinformatics databases have been designed to allow autonomous collection and easy access to information about protein sequence. Today, researchers have successfully mapped the complete genetic profile of several prokaryotic and eukaryotic species. Scientists are now trying to increase information to the bioinformatics database by adding more and more sequences on the daily bases which makes bioinformatics a rapidly growing and a highly dynamic and exciting field of research.

 

 

References

 

Lacroix, Z., & Critchlow, T. (2003). Bioinformatics : Managing Scientific Data. San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufmann.

 

Pool, R., Esnayra, J., & National Research Council, (. (U.S.). (2000). Bioinformatics: Converting Data to Knowledge : Workshop Summary. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

 


Preist, S. H. (2010). Encyclopedia of Science and Technology Communication. London: SAGE Publications, Inc.

 

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