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Some Common Mistakes that are Being Made in the Science of Bioinformatics

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

As with any new technology, there are concerns with the storage and security of the information that is discovered through bioinformatics. There are many common mistakes which people pursuing bioinformatics do.

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    Bioinformatics is a growing and emerging field in the world of science that incorporates the used of different technologies and methods from computer science, biology, mathematics and information technology. Bioinformatics has allowed researchers and scientists to be able to study, analyze and store valuable information and data on new findings in protein and DNA sequences of organisms.

    Before the introduction of bioinformatics, it was a long and tedious process of physical observation to try to understand the workings and similarities of DNA sequences among different species. The introduction of applying bioinformatics in order to study and store the data allowed researchers and scientists to be able to answer very specific questions regarding genetics, and have the information available to them to reference and update.

    So with all the good advancements and positive changes that bioinformatics have brought to the world of science, is it possible that there could also be common mistakes being made? The answer is yes. There are common mistakes in bioinformatics that are being made. It is important to note however, that it is a relatively new form and branch of science that studies DNA sequencing, and the issues that have been on the forefront, will be likely to dissipate as the science continues to grow and evolve.

    As with any new technology, there are concerns with the storage and security of the information that is discovered through bioinformatics. One of the common mistakes that are made is in the file encryption and file storage areas. It is easy to incorrectly catalogue and name certain data and files and this can create problems down the road for future inquiries to access the information. Human error is a problem and concern in every area of life and in science, and certainly is not immune in bioinformatics.

    Other common mistakes that are made in bioinformatics are due to the relatively newness of the field and the lack of experience and resources available. When analyzing protein and DNA sequences, there are plenty of opportunities for errors and mistakes to be made. Analyzing data and molecules on such a small scale can be trying and figuring out how genetic codes can be similar but different among the different species is always a challenge for even the best skilled scientists. At the same time though, the future advancements and current improvements already being made in the field, will be certain to instill confidence and respect for the emerging field and all of the genetic work and accomplishments that it is continue to produce.

    When it comes to other common mistakes made in bioinformatics, the prediction of how genes function, and will function due to changes in evolution and environmental changes is always a concern, and critics may argue that it is leaving a lot up to guesswork. But scientists who use bioinformatics are certain that any mistakes or problems in these early stages will be bound to work themselves out and the field will continue to improve and grow.