What is bioinformatics?
Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that develops methods and software tools for understanding biological data.
Bioinformatics includes a range of subjects that are required to analyse and interpret biological data successfully. These subjects include: biology, computer science, information engineering, mathematics and statistics.
Bioinformatics finds application in a growing number of areas, such as gene sequencing, gene expression studies, and drug discovery. For example, in medicine, bioinformatics can be used to identify links between specific diseases and the gene sequences that cause them.
Why is it important?
The field of bioinformatics has three main objectives:
- To organize vast reams of molecular biology data in an efficient manner.
- To develop tools that aid in the analysis of such data.
- To interpret the results accurately and meaningfully.
As bioinformatics can be used in any system where information can be represented digitally, it can be applied across the entire spectrum of living organisms, from single cells to complex ecosystems.
Uses and examples of bioinformatics
The advent and rapid rise of bioinformatics have been due to the massive increases in computing power and laboratory technology. These advances have made it possible to process and analyse digital information—DNA, genes, and genomes, at the heart of life itself.
Bioinformatics is a more efficient way of transferring scientific information as it can be stored on a database. This means that, due to its current ability to hold mass amounts of data, researchers and scientists can work at a faster rate than ever before.
It is not only crucial for scientists, but also for everyday life. For example, it helps in food production by predicting and assessing the desired and undesired effects of microorganisms on food.
Image source: https://www.science2education.co.uk/product/FLA9000
Currently, there is a growing need to convert biological data into knowledge through a bioinformatics approach. This increases the efficiency and speed for emerging cures for diseases and research into complex organisms. In our fast-changing world bioinformatics is becoming increasingly important.
I hope this was informative and thank you for reading!
Written by Malick, a Year 11 Student at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Knights Academy