Just the complicated stuff: what you need to know about bioinformatics
Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary science that combines biology and computer science to analyse, store and understand biological data. It plays a critical role in research in genomics, proteomics, evolution, molecular biology and other biological sciences. Here are a few key aspects worth knowing about bioinformatics:
- Genome and DNA sequence: The main object of study in bioinformatics is the genomes of organisms and DNA sequences. A genome is the complete genetic material of an organism, including all its genes. Bioinformaticians analyse these sequences to understand the genetic information.
- Algorithms and computer modelling: Computer algorithms and models are used to analyse and interpret biological data. This can include gene discovery, sequence alignment, protein structure prediction, and more.
- Biological data databases: There are many databases containing biological information such as GenBank and UniProt. Bioinformaticians use these resources for data access and comparative analyses.
- Evolution and Phylogenetics: Bioinformatics is also concerned with the study of evolution of organisms and the construction of their phylogenetic trees based on genetic data.
- Proteomics: Proteomics is the study of all proteins in an organism. Bioinformaticians develop methods to analyse and compare proteomic data.
- Protein Structure: Analysing the structure of proteins helps in understanding their functions and interactions. Bioinformaticians use modelling and analysis techniques to study the structure of proteins.
- Medical Bioinformatics: This field uses bioinformatics techniques for disease research, drug discovery and personalised treatment.
- Genomics and Genetic Markers: Bioinformaticians are also involved in the identification of genetic markers associated with various diseases and heredity.
Bioinformatics is a critical area for modern biological research and it is constantly evolving with the rapid growth of biological data and the development of new technologies to analyse it. This science plays an important role in expanding our knowledge of living organisms and their functions.