What is Bioinformatics?

Bioinformatics is a dynamic and emerging field of science which deals with an amalgamation of several subjects. These subjects include Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science. Bioinformatics focuses on developing new technologies in the fields of medicine, research and biotechnology. This subject is interdisciplinary and requires thorough knowledge of both engineering as well as life sciences. This sector draws from a well of biological data and uses this information to create new tools and software which will be relevant in the world of biological research. In this article, we'll explore what is bioinformatics, application of bioinformatics, the scope of bioinformatics and the uses of bioinformatics.

Bioinformatics: A Definition

If we talk about a definition of bioinformatics, or to answer the question, ‘what is bioinformatics?’, we’ll have to visit the NCBI or the National Centre for Biotechnology Information. Here, in the journals of the NIH or National Institutes of Health and the NLM or National Library of medicine, we can find a concrete definition of bioinformatics. So, to answer the question ‘what is bioinformatics?’, we say that ‘Bioinformatics involves the collection, comprehension, manipulation, classification, storage, extraction, animation and usage of all biological information with the use of computer technology.’ 

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History of Bioinformatics

Now that we know what bioinformatics is, let us briefly discuss the history of the subject. The term first got recognition in the year 1960 when two scientists from the Netherlands, Paulien Hogeweg and Ben Hesper went on to coin the word. In their journals and records, we find bioinformatics as a study of information processes in the biological world. 

Application of Bioinformatics

We will now move on to the application of bioinformatics. Bioinformatics and its application primarily lie in the extraction of useful facts and figures from a collection of data secured from the natural world. Bioinformatics finds application in the fields of 3D image processing, 3D modelling of living cells, image analysis, drug development and a lot more. The most impactful usage of bioinformatics is visible in the field of medicine, where we heavily employ its data to create antidotes for infectious and harmful diseases.

The main application of bioinformatics is to make the comprehension of natural processes more accessible and more uncomplicated. 

Bioinformatics Applications List

Listed below are the various examples of the application of bioinformatics:

  • We heavily employ bioinformatics in gene therapy.

  • This branch finds application in evolutionary theory.

  • Microbial analysis.

  • Understanding of protein structure.

  • Storage and revival of biotechnological data.

  • In the discovery of new drugs.

  • In agriculture to understand crop patterns, pest control and crop management.

This bit was all about bioinformatics and its application. Next, we will move onto the scope of bioinformatics. 

Scope of Bioinformatics

The knowledge of the applications of the subject somewhat introduces us to the scope of bioinformatics. This subject is a branch of science which is rapidly growing and expanding as we discover newer areas of its usage. Bioinformatics is the root of all biological and medical research in the present day, and therefore we can suffice to say that the scope of bioinformatics is pretty promising. 

With the massive role of bioinformatics in biotechnology, this field of study is only going to go from success to success. 

In our next bit, we are going to go over the uses of bioinformatics briefly. 

Uses of Bioinformatics

The uses of bioinformatics are plenty. We employ this science in data collection from the natural world. We use it to develop technologies to understand our environment better. Bioinformatics helps in the analysis of the very data that it gathers. Bioinformatics also help in creating ways of using this data to solve real-world problems. Therefore, this field is a very crucial part of research and development. We can see its impact in a number of our industries and this aptly highlights the importance and the extent of uses of bioinformatics.

Solved Examples

  1. What do you understand by the term bioinformatics?

Ans: Bioinformatics is such a field which includes the foundations of several subjects ranging from biology to computer science. It is a practical application of the theories learnt in all the branches of science. Bioinformatics employs computer technology to derive, manipulate and store data from the natural world.

Fun Facts

  • Bioinformatics is one of the newest recognized branches of scientific study.

  • Despite being a pretty new field, the applications of bioinformatics are widespread.

  • It a field which has a significant impact in the world of drug development and the treatment of chronic diseases.

  • The number of students opting for bioinformatics and biotechnology as a field of study is increasing rapidly.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Applications of Bioinformatics?

Ans: Bioinformatics is a field with its widespread application and uses across several industries of the world and studies. Researchers and experts use it to collect information from the environment. This information then comes under rigorous research and from the analysis of the collected data, new ideas and innovation come into play. The various areas of application of bioinformatics are as follows: 

  1. In gene theory

  2. In evolutionary studies

  3. In plasma treatment

  4. In the development of drugs for chronic diseases

  5. In the agricultural sector for crop management, pest control and to understand crop patterns

  6. In the storage and extraction of biological data.

2. What is the Scope of the Branch of Bioinformatics?

Ans: Bioinformatics as a branch is rapidly expanding day by day. Every day the world comes face to face with new challenges, and the ultimate goal is to sustain life on the planet. Bioinformatics comes into play right here. It combines the study of life forms and the environment with data analytics to come to conclusions about new technologies that can increase life expectancy and better the standard of living.

With endless applications and usage platforms, bioinformatics is a field which is gaining fast momentum in the world of research and development. With the turn of the decade, it will be one of the most studied branches in the top universities.