Bioinformatics is a discipline which studies the structure and function of DNA and RNA molecules. It integrates genetic programming with DNA and RNA sequence analysis. It also deals with the study of the relationship between DNA and protein structures.
It is a rapidly expanding field which looks at how the accumulation of data about living things can be studied efficiently using computers. It focuses on the management, storage, analysis, maintenance and use of data about living things. This involves the study of the genome and the functioning of the cells. With the advent of the Internet and other information systems, it has become easier to share and distribute data. This discipline uses computer software to facilitate this sharing and distribution of information.
How does it work? Biochemists are responsible for building the framework of DNA and RNA structures. They map these building blocks into instructions which code for the different traits of the species. They decode these instructions in a way that makes sense and is specific to the species they are examining. These traits then serve as the basis of what is known as a genome.
How can we use it? The study of sequences can be used to answer many questions in plant biology. For example, how does the composition of wheat differ from that of rice or barley? Is it possible to infer anything about the relationship between species through examination of their DNA? The answers to these questions may lead to new ways of growing plants and possibly even new types of crops. Researchers will also be able to generate a huge amount of data that can be shared among different disciplines and made available to other researchers for research purposes.
How do researchers collect the data? Methods vary, but most methods involve scouring the Web for already published studies, taking advantage of databases such as those maintained by project DNA libraries (DDBs). Then the researcher takes the databases and creates a graphical data set by connecting the dots. If the dots are connected in the right way, the result shows what the sequence of DNA letters in the organism looks like.
The study of what is bioinformatics can be seen all over the place in the scientific community. For instance, the journal Nature has a whole chapter on the subject. In the past few years, the Internet has also started publishing papers based on this subject. In fact, a group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is working on creating an online database that will allow interested researchers to directly access data and other information on what is bioinformatics.
There are many things that make up this interesting but complicated area of study. One of the things that makes the field so exciting is that there is always room for improvement. New techniques and software are being created all the time, as researchers get more ideas about how to analyze the data they have collected. It has also been shown that the field of bioinformatics can be applied to a wide range of different areas, including medicine, engineering and computer science. A number of highly successful research projects have come out of what is bioinformatics, such as the development of a DNA library that can help diagnose diseases.
What is bioinformatics? Is it a legitimate scientific discipline? Well, as you probably know, no one can answer that for sure. However, many people who work in it have given the subject a good deal of respect, and it looks as though it may well have some potential as a viable career choice in the future.