Bioinformatics is defined as any application of compilation in the field of biology, including data management, algorithm development and data mining. A number of divergent areas, many of them outside biotechnology, also come under bioinformatics.
Bioinformatics is the field of science in which biology, computer science and information technology merge to form a single discipline. The ultimate goal of the field is to enable the discovery of new biological insights as well as create a global persepctive from which unifying principles in biology can be discerned.
Initial interest in bioinformatics was propelled by the necessity to create databases of biological sequences. The first database was created within a short period of time after the insulin protein sequence was made available in 1956.
The sequence information generated by the human genome research, initiated in 1988 has now been stored as a primary source of information for future applications in medicine. The available data is so huge that if compiled in books, the data would run into 200 volumes of 1000 pages each and reading alone (ignoring understanding factor) would require 26 years working around the clock. For the population of about 5 billion human beings with 2 individuals differing in 3 million bases, the genomic sequence difference database would be about 15,000,000 billion entries. The present challenge to handle such a huge volume of data is to improve database design, develop software for database access and manipulation, and device entry procedures to compensate for the varied computer procedures and systems used in different laboratories.
Applications of bioinformatics include:
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