What is bioinformatics

Bioinformatics is the application of computer technology to the management of biological information. Computers are used to gather, store, analyze and integrate biological and genetic information which can then be applied to gene-based drug discovery and development. The need for Bioinformatics capabilities has been precipitated by the explosion of publicly available genomic information resulting from the Human Genome Project.

The goal of this project – determination of the sequence of the entire human genome (approximately three billion base pairs) – will be reached by the year 2002. The science of Bioinformatics, which is the melding of molecular biology with computer science, is essential to the use of genomic information in understanding human diseases and in the identification of new molecular targets for drug discovery.

In recognition of this, many universities, government institutions and pharmaceutical firms have formed bioinformatics groups, consisting of computational biologists and bioinformatics computer scientists. Such groups will be key to unraveling the mass of information generated by large scale sequencing efforts underway in laboratories around the world.

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