Bioinformatics: need of every biologist

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To talk about an information overload in the modern life sciences is an understatement. Bioinformatics is being practiced worldwide by academic groups, companies, and national and international research consortia, and it should be thought of as bedrock of future biological sciences.

Bioinformatics evolved into complete interdisciplinary science to solve the biological problems by utilizing statistical, mathematical and computational approaches. Furthermore, the recording, annotation, storage, analyses, and searching/retrieval of biological information and represent this information in order to educate ourselves, understand life’s processes in the healthy and disease states, and find new or better drugs are only some aspects of Bioinformatics. The conjuring of new ‘Big-Data’ associated typically with massive databases of gene and protein sequences and structure/function information into which are constantly deposited new sequences, and which are searched by remote computer access whenever any sequence needs to be compared with what is already known. There are so many different bioinformatics tools available over the Internet free of charge to whomever wishes to use them that it is impossible to list them all. The ability to gather, store, classify, analyze, and distribute biological information derived from sequencing and functional analyses projects is so fundamental to modern biology. This is because it is widely believed that the real long-term value of bioinformatics capabilities lies not so much in the tools, but in the conversion of the knowledge that bioinformatics delivers into better therapeutics.

There are numerous emerging fields within bioinformatics including functional bioinformatics. This has to do with the development of ontologies or concept classifications used by algorithms to perform computations that use the functions of bio-molecules as their inputs and outputs. Examples of such computations include queries of databases for specific functional sequences, functional homology queries and algorithms that predict function from sequence data. This ontology encodes a wide variety of processes and events, such as signal-transduction, regulation of gene expression, transport events, and enzyme reactions with substrates. These emerging approaches promise to refine the use made of biological information.

The trend of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) has enormously improved research scope by offering quick solutions to exponentially improve our ability to do wonders in human and animal health through bringing personalized medicine era closer and moving from diagnostics and therapeutics into theranostics, production of food in animal and crop sciences for global food security. The biotechonological advances have particularly been instrumental to produce products of high value at industrial scale and therefore are transforming the economies of communities and the nation’s worldwide ultimately raising socio – economic indicators of societies and communities.  Especially the medical science has seen wonders in improving health to an unbelievable increase in average age of human through the synergistic application of physical (material) and health sciences. Now with the urge of Medical Science to step into the era of Personalized Medicine, there is an even a greater need to bring Medicine, Pharmaceutical sciences, Genomics, Phenomics, metabolomics, Nano-biotechnology and IT disciplines even closer to work together for speedy progress in this area. However, this may need to take into account the areas of Epigenomics/epigenetics and environment at wholesome level to ultimately achieve unprecedented transformation in therapeutics and Theranostics.

As many genomes sequenced, a major application of bioinformatics is the modeling of genetic and metabolic networks. Here, the qualitative reasoning derived from artificial intelligence techniques to deliver accurate and predictive models of biological function that are entirely computer-based.

Finally, a development to watch involves a subdiscipline of bioinformatics known as molecular or biological computing, which focuses on the use of genes as information storage, manipulation, and retrieval “devices” that can be harnessed to perform computational tasks.

Bioinformatics has established itself in just a few years as a foundation of modern biological sciences. Its main focus is on biological information management, and novel drug discovery. In all over the World, Bioinformatics is considered as a leading emerging interdisciplinary science that reduces the resources and time phase of experiments with effective results. In Pakistan, still many students and researchers do not know well about bioinformatics and bioinformatics is in crises of funding and support. The aggressive developmental tomorrow needs bioinformatics in every life sciences related laboratory.

The author is the Lecturer of Bioinformatics, from Department of Biosciences COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Sahiwal Pakistan and TWAS-PhD (Scholar) State Key Laboratory of Biomembrane and Membrane Biotechnology; Chinese Academy of Sciences; Beijing, China (arslansehgal@yahoo.com)


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Published in: Volume 08 Issue 41

Short Link: https://www.technologytimes.pk/?p=18768