Bioinformatics

The application of computer technology to the management of biological information. Specifically, it is the science of developing computer databases and algorithms to facilitate and expedite biological research. Bioinformatics is being used largely in the field of human genome research by the Human Genome Project that has been determining the sequence of the entire human genome (about 3 billion base pairs) and is essential in using genomic information to understand diseases. It is also used largely for the identification of new molecular targets for drug discovery.

Many universities have recognized the importance of this endeavor and have instituted academic and training programs in bioinformatics that combine backgrounds in molecular biology with a strong foundation in computer science. Specialists in the field are referred to as computational biologists or bioinformatics computer scientists.

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