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Aiming to be Bio-informatist or Bio-informatician?

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 5/16/2008

The discovery of DNA, RNA and other biological functions has created a new field in which information technology plays a major part. One is storage of the discovered data and the second is the use of computer software to analyze and simulate new situations to see biological responses.

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    Bioinformatics is an emerging field of science where information technology is used to not only store the huge volume of information about each and every biological discovery, but also to conduct simulation of how a particular biological species is likely to behave to a stimulus.. Bioinformatics includes protein prediction, evolutionary relationships, designing databases, and developing tools and softwares for different biological problems.

    Bioinformatics is mainly divided into two parts: Research and Development. They are taken as one but they are different. The difference between the two is that research provides the observed biological reaction and Development uses different tools and techniques to understand that behavior. Development also tests whether the introduction of any other bio-input would change the behavior, that is, either stop, develop further, or attach itself to the new input and how it interacts with the new input.

    This is where the Bioinformatist and Bioinformatician comes in. A Bioinformatist is the one who develops a software package or tool for a particular biological problem. A Bioinformatician is the one who analyzes the software or tool developed by the bioinformatist and uses it for further research.

    Bioinformatists work with computer algorithms and develop new software or tool based on the criteria of the biological problem. They develop new software or online tools using different programming languages. Database development is also done by bioinformatists. Their main aim is to develop potential software that can help analyze and provide further information to use with new bio-inputs which would possibly provide  the effectively answer the biological problem. Another aim is to computerize the biological data either by creating databases or by developing different sources to storing information.

    Bioinformaticians work using the software or tools developed by the bioinformatists and validate those tools for further research. Once these tools are developed, the first task is to validate the tool or software, meaning finding out whether it works properly and provides the desired results or not. This work is done by Bioinformaticians. They check whether it is completely efficient for the given task or not. Then, if the tool is completely fit for the given task, they use it for further research.

    Thus, Bioinformatists and Bioinformaticians must work jointly to further research and development.