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What is bioinformatics?

Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that uses tools from Statistics, Mathematics, Computer Science and Informatics to solve biological problems. Although the terms Bioinformatics and Computational biology are often used interchangeably, Computational biology focusses on the algorithm development and Bioinformatics focusses on organizing biological data. Major areas of research include

  • Sequence Analysis
  • Genome annotation
  • Gene Expression analysis
  • Protein Expression analysis
  • Structure prediction
  • Comparative Genomics
  • Modeling Biological systems

Bioinformatics is an integral part of biological research. Recent years have witnessed an explosion in the amount of biological data that has become available. This increase has been largely attributed to technological innovation that has allowed scientists to conduct high-throughput experiments. In a large part the genome projects have been the principal generator of data. The human genome by itself is 3 billion base pairs. Large amounts of data is also being generated from high-throughput expression studies, structural genomics projects and several other omics projects. Data collected does not equal knowledge, and this is where bioinformatics plays a big role. It is one of the most exciting areas in all respects. It includes exciting science and is at the cutting edge of technology. It is important to keep in mind that as a bioinformatics scientist you are interested in discovering new biology using computational tools as well as in generating new hypothesis that are computationally derived. These can then be tested experimentally. Please read the following articles for more insight into the field.