What is bioinformatics? It is an integrative field in which new biological perceptions are uncovered from biological information. It gives strategies and instruments to examine genomic information. Basically, it is the application of information technology and computer science to the fields of biology. The goal of the subject is to provide scientists with a means to explain the normal biological processes as well as the malfunctions in these processes which lead to diseases.
The science of bioinformatics has many beneficial uses in the modern day world. These include: molecular medicine, microbial genome applications, agriculture, animals and comparative studies.
Bioinformatics in molecular medicine
Using bioinformatics, scientists can search for the human genes directly associated with different diseases and begin to understand the molecular basis of these diseases more clearly. This new knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of diseases will enable better treatments, cures and even preventive tests to be developed.
Bioinformatics in microbial genome applications
Microorganisms are ubiquitous, that is they are found everywhere. They have been found surviving and thriving in extremes of heat, cold, radiation, salt, acidity and pressure. It helps scientists study the genetic material of these organisms. They begin to understand these microbes at a very fundamental level and isolate the genes that give them their unique abilities to survive under extreme conditions.
Bioinformatics in agriculture
The genome sequencing of the plants and animals has also provided benefits to agriculture. Tools of bioinformatics are playing significant role in providing the information about the genes present in the genome of these species.
Bioinformatics in animals
Sequencing projects of many farm animals including cows and sheep are now well under way in the hope that a better understanding of the biology of these organisms will have huge impacts for improving the production and health of livestock and ultimately benefits for human nutrition.
Bioinformatics in comparative studies
Analysing and comparing the genetic material of different species is an important method for studying functions of genes, mechanisms of inherited diseases and species evolution. Bioinformatics tools can be used to make comparison between the numbers, locations and biochemical functions of genes in different organisms.
Dr. Jihene Kaabi
College of Information Technology, University of Bahrain