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Applications of Bioinformatics – How Scientists Are Using Bioinformatics to Make Gains with Genetic Discovery

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

Bioinformatics is being used in many realms of the scientific world, and is also allowing extensive work to be done in the medical community as well.

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    Bioinformatics has truly change the way that scientists and researchers are able to study the genetic material and DNA sequences in organisms and how they have been able to store and keep this valuable information and data into a secure database that they can reference upon any new findings and continually add to. What is this new field of science really about? Bioinformatics is really a combination and compilation of different branches of biology, computer science, computational mathematics and information technology.

    Bioinformatics is a relatively new branch of science that has emerged and evolved to compensate for the lack of better ways to store and analyze important data. Before the inception of bioinformatics, scientists and researchers had to use methods of manual observation and create ways to note and denote changes in various protein sequences of DNA and protein sequences between hundreds of organisms. This older method became a tedious and somewhat haphazard way of collecting and studying this important information and there arose the need for a better and more secure method.

    It was through the combined efforts of using information technology and computer science that allowed them to create a large database capable of housing and securely storing all of the valuable work that was being done with studies on DNA. The database that was created allowed scientists to be able to access millions of records of parts and molecules of DNA sequences from different species to compare to the work that was currently being done.

    When it comes to the different applications of bioinformatics, the options are limitless. There are constantly being new research projects and studies being done on this amazing new line of DNA analysis. Scientists are now using bioinformatics to detect genetic abnormalities in different species. This is also creating breakthroughs in the medical community. Applications of bioinformatics have allowed doctors to conduct genetic testing in unborn babies to predict and find any signs of certain genetic disorders and conditions.

    While some of the work that bioinformatics has created is under scrutiny, other areas are taking off in the world of science and discovery. The doors are opening for scientists to be able to find and predict genetic problems before they exist. The world of bioinformatics is finding new applications at all times.

    Biologists have been using bioinformatics to help track changes over time in different species due to evolution and have been able to find and detect similarities that are occurring between different species over time. They have been making huge leaps in discovering what genes and what protein sequences change and adapt to changes in the environment over time. This has opened up the door to whole new ways in which science is studying organisms and their relation to each other and the environment.

    Applications of bioinformatics have been helping to bridge the gap between what was once though of as a far off possibility and a near reality in the study of human genome and the comparison of genetic information in other species.