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Bioinformatics – The Worlds of Biology, Computer Science and Information Technology Meet to Create a Whole New Field of Study

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 7/29/2008

The field of Bioinformatics is constantly changing and evolving to meet the needs of scientists and researchers who are studying it.

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    In the past few decades, there have been large advances made in the fields of both molecular biology and in genomic studies. The combination of scientific advances in three dynamic fields have led to a continuing growth in biological information that is being generated by scientists and researchers. Because of the growth in this information, there has been a need created for databases and computerized storage systems to be able to house all of this important information.

    The need to store, use, organize and index all of this information has led to the invention and use of a biological database. This biological database is comprised of software programs that allow the information to be stored, updated, queried and retrieved from the storage systems. In order for scientists and researches to get the most use out of the database, it had to be created with two key concepts in mind:

    1. Allows easy access to all of the information
    2. Allows methods for extracting only specific information from a file that is needed to help answer a specific question regarding to biology.

    Once the database can meet these requirements, it is then very helpful to scientists and researchers. The ongoing studies that are being conducted in the fields of molecular biology and genomic studies have led to the need for this kind of storage system in order to keep all the vital information from research safe and secure.

    You may be wondering what all of this important information is really about that is being stored in these biological databases – and the answer to that lies in the study of bioinformatics. Bioinformatics is a branch of science and biology that incorporates the research methods of biology and applies that with computer science and management of information and technology. What scientists and researchers wish to accomplish with this new field is the ultimate discovery of new insights into biological processes and being able to define a new set of principles into the world of biology.

    As scientists began to delve deeper into the world of bioinformatics, they began to envision what was needed to store all of this important information to collectively house a storage system full of biological and genetic findings and information. The design that went into the development of a biological database was a very complex and detailed plan and now allows researchers and scientists to be able to look up and fully access older data and constantly upload and enter new data and revisions.

    In the big picture of bioinformatics, this database will be ultimately used to create a complete picture of how cells normally function, and will help the medical community figure out why and where the activity in cells changes and is altered when diseases are present. The task of analyzing this data is an on-going study and with the creation of biological databases, it is a much more thorough way of studying the data.