Traditionally, biology is described as that branch of science that is involved in the study of living things. this implies that biologists invariably collect information in the course of this study. Moreover, this also implies that biologists have to interpret this information. this process has been a slow and arduous one until the turn of the21st century. before this period, biologists have had to contend with the prospect of interpreting collected information with the help of the senses and sometimes, laboratory investigations. however, with the turn of the century and its corresponding development of information technology, this arduous task has been made less cumbersome with the application of information technology tools to the analysis, manipulation and interpretation of collected data in order to make certain inferences. (Cynthia Gibas et al, 2001). Bioinformatics is concerned with the process of generation and transmission of information in living systems. it generally seeks to understand the significance of these processes and draw inferences from them.
Bioinformatics is that science that is concerned with the use of both information technology and computer science in t he fields of biology and medicine. it makes use of such tools as databases, information systems, artificial intelligence, computer programming and data mining, just to mention a few. bioinformatics is that science that forms a bridge between biology as a science and other information technology related sciences, like computer science, mathematics, programming and other disciplines related to information technology.(RoseIndia, 2005). it is concerned with all aspects of utilization of skills in these fields to the analysis and solving of problems in biology as a field.
Bioinformatics is a subset of a larger field of Computational biology that is primarily involved in the application of quantitative analytic techniques in modeling biological systems. (Cynthia Gibas et al, 2001). Bioinformatics as a field depend heavily the work of statisticians and pattern recognition experts. bioinformatics experts are also experts in one of the other various fields connected with bioinformatics, including mathematics, computer science and linguistics, among others.
Bioinformatics has been applied in specific topical issues in the world today. some of them include Molecular medicine, microbial genome applications and agriculture. Bioinformatics has been used in the sequencing of the human genome. it has been said that every pathological process has a genetic component; it is either the disease is hereditary (e.g. Huntington's Disease) or is the disease causes a change in the normal way the normal processes of the body is performed - which is ultimately controlled by genes.(EBI, 2011)
Molecular medicine is that aspect of medicine concerned with the study of pathological processes at the basic unit of life which is the cellular level. bioinformatics comes in handy in this regard (e.g. Diabetes Mellitus). Bioinformatics can help in the better understanding of how these pathological processes affect each gene and even predict the properties of drugs that can be used in curing these conditions. this is because the whole of the human genome has been completely sequenced so that each gene can be studied in detail.
Bioinformatics can also be an invaluable tool in developing the field of microbiology. several microorganisms are useful to man. an example is Yeast used in baking, and brewing. Bioinformatics can be used understand these organisms at a level as detailed as the molecular level. this can have profound effects on how these microorganisms are utilized in the fields of energy production, toxic waste management, industrial food processing and cleaning up the environment. for instance, Deinococcus radiodurans is known to resist radiation, scientists are studying the organism because it carries potential use in cleaning up radiation waste.(EBI, 2011)
Bioinformatics has profound use in the field of agriculture. with a better understanding of plant and animal genetic sequence, specific characteristics can be isolated from the genome and either amplified or completely knocked out. this can be extremely valuable in developing higher yield crops, drought and pest resistant crops. it can also be used in developing animals with improved dairy products, meat and hide. these can all be possible by sequencing the genome of these organisms and targeting specific characteristics.(EBI, 2011)
Bioinformatics is definitely a discipline that holds invaluable contribution to the field of biology. with proper utilization, it has profound potentials in the development of the fields of medicine, microbiology and agriculture. in medicine, it may, among other things, lead to the development of drugs that can cure genetic diseases; in microbiology, may help develop drugs that microorganisms would not be resistant to and in agriculture, may be the answer to drought and pest resistance of crops. these are just some specific potential of bioinformatics, among the numerous potentials it has. Bioinformatics is definitely beneficial to us.
EBI (2011). What is Bioinformatics? European Bioinformatics Institute. accessed on 8th December, 2011 from http://www.ebi.ac.uk/2can/bioinformatics/bioinf_realworld_1.html
Cynthia Gibas, Per Jambeck (2001). Developing Bioinformatics Computer Skills. O'Reilly Online Catalog. Accessed on 8th December, 2011 from http://oreilly.com/catalog/bioskills/chapter/ch01.html
RoseIndia (2005). Application of Bioinformatics in various Fields. RoseIndia technologies. accessed on 8th December 2011 from http://www.roseindia.net/bioinformatics/applications.shtml