Molecular Biology

Bioinformatics



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Bioinformatics is a field of Science where Biology, Computer Science and Information Technology merge. A concern of Bioinformatics is the ability to quickly retrieve data, so that researchers can use each other's information to work towards a common goal. A well known use of bioinformatics has been in the study of the human genome where scientists use information regarding the amino acids found in proteins.

A large basis of Bioinformatics is studying DNA, and disease states related to DNA and the proteins that code for amino acids that make up protein sequences. Once sequences are found for certain proteins, then they can be saved and stored in databases. By doing this, researchers not only can save their information, but add to it at a later date. In order to do this, scientists first need to get a complete picture of the normal function of cells activities, so they have something for comparison. The actual analyzing this data is known as computational biology. Additionally, new mathematical formulas are used to assess the relationship between large numbers of data being studied.

The information that is studied is important for learning about the relationship between amino acids, proteins and human diseases. The new technology which stores the genetic information helps speed up the process of looking for genes and helps to keep the cost of manually searching down. With the use of computer science, the process of specifically locating the site of a particular gene on a chromosome has become not only less time consuming, but also easier, and less costly.

Bioinformatics is important for humans because it can help to determine gene mutations. Through computer programs researchers can help map out what genetic mutations may be responsible for cancer. Biomedical imagery can now be supplemented by computer technology which allows for more specific images, which are viewable more quickly and with more accuracy.

Bioinformatics has also been used in the study of pharmaceutics. In the field of Pharmaceutics, Bioinformatics can be used to see if a particular drug will actually help or harm the individual who will be taking it. By studying a person's genes, scientists will be able to see how a person will react to a particular medicine. Much of a person's ability to respond to a medication has been shown to be related to their genetic makeup. Because of this new technology, older medications that didn't work for a large percentage of the population are now being looked at again, in hopes that they can be useful to those that aren't helped by current treatments.

Bioinformatics is an up and coming field with a lot of promise for the future, and while it is very complex, scientists, computer scientists and researchers are continuing to work in this new disciplinary field that ties so many other important fields together.

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