What Is Bioinformatics?
Bioinformatics is the application of information technology to the study of living things, usually at the molecular level. Bioinformatics involves the use of computers to collect, organize and use biological information to answer questions in fields like evolutionary biology. Schools offering Anatomy & Physiology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Over the past thirty years, the quantity and quality of biological information has skyrocketed, largely because of advances in molecular biology and genomic technology. The Bioinformatics Organization, www.bioinformatics.org, reports that Bioinformatics is used to develop databases like the Human Genome Project that store, organize and index biological information for analysis.
Why Bioinformatics Is Important
The value of Bioinformatics goes beyond the scientific community. This field allows scientists to create comprehensive databases of biological and health information that can be used to test theories and generate solutions to medical problems that affect us all. The National Center for Biotechnology Information, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, reports that there are three main scientific applications of Bioinformatics. These are described below.
Evolutionary biology looks at the molecules of different organisms and determines whether they share a common evolutionary history. This process has the potential to uncover relationships between life forms never considered before. By using Bioinformatics to track this data, evolutionary biologists can discover new insights about the causes of and cures for various diseases.
Proteins have specific functions in our bodies that are determined by DNA sequences. Using Bioinformatic techniques, scientists can test theories about how various proteins interact. These tests may help scientists understand how diseases develop in living organisms.
Genome mapping is another Bioinformatic technique that is used for scientific research. Computerized genomic maps make it easier for scientists to locate genes, and this increased efficiency results in higher productivity and greater scientific advancements. Due to this development in Bioinformatics, scientists can spend less time on the painstaking mapping process, and more time testing their hypotheses.
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