The 3 Main Fields in Which Bioinformatics is Applied

The term bioinformatics was coined by Paulien Hogeweg and Ben Hesper in 1970. It involves Information Technology, Computers Science, and Biology that combined to analyze biological data and sequences. Bioinformatics is useful in many fields and has had ground-breaking research results. Three of the main areas in which this field of science and computer technology are applied, are medicine, Microbial Genome Applications, and agriculture.

Medicine

 

Bioinformatics is used in 4 main areas of medicine:

Drug discovery – Bioinformatics was used to develop a three-dimensional structure of proteins. This development has aided in understanding how protein structure can influence drug discovery. It helps to fit chemicals to the protein structure for the best results.

Personal medicine – This is based on an individual’s own specific genetic make-up, family history, social and environmental circumstances, and biological pre-dispositions. Based on this information, personalized medicine and treatments are developed to give the individual the best possible medicinal treatments.

Preventive medicine – This has to do with preventing diseases and illnesses before they occur rather than curing them.

Gene therapy – This involves using gene addition, gene removal, or control of gene expression in an individual. This is done to correct, prevent, or remove a specific defect or disorder in a gene.

 

Microbial Genome Applications

There are 3 areas in Microbial Genome Applications that applies bioinformatics:

Waste clean-up – Bioinformatics helps to identify bacteria that are best to help with cleaning up genes and other biological elements.

Climate change – In this area bioinformatics helps scientists to develop abilities within living things to help them survive the effects of climate change.

Biotechnology – In this field, bioinformatics help to produce or modify organisms involved with food production or modification. It is useful to make food products less harmful, remove allergens, etc.

 

Agriculture

In agriculture, bioinformatics is applied in 2 main areas:

Crop improvement – Research is used to find ways to alter biological make-up in plants to improve crop yield and quality.

Insect resistance – Bioinformatics is applied to help plants be more resistant to the insects that naturally attack and destroy them.

These are just the main areas where bioinformatics is applied. It has many more possibilities and uses.

Continue reading


8 Random and Interesting Facts About the Human Genome

Everyone in the field of bioinformatics knows about the human genome project and the importance of it. Most of the population have also heard of it. We have decided to recap some important and interesting findings of the human genome to get everyone clued-up.

Humans versus Rice Plants

A human has 24 000 genes compared to the 35 000 in a rice plant. Seems a bit strange as humans seem to be more complex than a rice plant, right?

You and Me

Time to get rid of prejudice and all that as 99% of the human genome is identical in all people from all races.

Use of the human genome

The human genome is useful to help people with screening for potential diseases and for researching genetics and origins.

Functions of our genes

The functions of many of the 24 000 genes in a human body have not yet been identified.

How long does genome sequencing take?

In 2007 it took 2 months for one person’s genome sequencing to be completed. Science and technology developments have been speeding up this process dramatically and have also made it cheaper.

Proteins in the code

There are more than 3.2 billion base pairs in the human genome. Of this large amount, less than 2% code as proteins. Each of the human genes gets translated into approximately 5 proteins.

What are introns?

Introns are non-coding sequences in the genes. They interrupt the information sequence of a gene. They are like nonsense or white noise interruptions.

What happens with the other 98%?

Only less than 2% of the human genome codes proteins. The rest of the 98% was considered to be junk for a long time. Today, scientists believe this 98% has a valuable function.

These are a few random and interesting things about the human genome that our fellow citizens outside the field may not have known. The project has brought about many wonderful findings and has led to the discovery and invention of things that will help improve disease prevention and cure in the future.

Continue reading


5 Simple Tips for Bioinformatics Researchers to Improve Their Data Analysis

Studying bioinformatics is very exciting. It can, however, be overwhelming. There is lots of data to work through, analyze, and store. Writing down notes, findings and ideas sometimes need to happen all at once. To help make this all easier, follow these simple tips:

Visualize your data

If you can visualize your data and explore it, it will be easier to troubleshoot data analysis. Many of the research in the field is simply hypotheses which mean that visualization is just a method to validate the research. When using a data-driven research approach, interactive data visualization is seen as one of the core research tools.

Script your analysis

Instead of using a program like Microsoft Excel, we suggest scripting your analysis in one scripting language. Excel presents problems with formatting and reproducibility which can cause you to do double work or lose your work altogether. Scripting analysis means that you can self-document and reproduce by simply running a single console command.

Use Cloud as storage

Cloud is a great alternative to traditional storage of research and findings. Several backup hard-drives and other systems can get confusing and hard to manage. Cloud offers the opportunity to safely store your research offsite and in a way that you can retrieve it anywhere and anytime with no fear of losing the data because the system crashed.

Follow in the steps of those before you

Instead of starting your research and analysis from scratch, visit forums and archives related to bioinformatics. You will find many forums, blogs, and research archives that will help you with data analysis.

Learn to use Linux

Many people fear using Linux as it is complicated. However, for bioinformatics researchers, it would be wise to get a basic understanding and learn to use it. Most bioinformatics tools use Linux as an operating system. To help you make the most of your research and have the best tools, learn to use Linux.

With these simple tips, you should be well on your way to a more streamlined method of research, analysis, and data storage.

Continue reading