Bioinformatics or computational biology is a fascinating science which uses a combination of Computer Science, Information Technology and Genetics to determine and analyse genetic information. In other words, bioinformatics is all about using computers to store and retrieve biological information, and also to help understand and assimilate it. In the last two decades there have been so many advances in the life sciences, especially in biotechnology and genetics; the amount and variety of biological data to be collected and the biological information to be analysed has grown beyond what anyone could have predicted. Since computers are the best tools to handle large amounts of information quickly and well. It didn't take a genius to figure out that an entirely new field of study, which combined computers and biotechnology, was needed to address this problem. The result was bioinformatics.
To the average computer scientist, data are data, and they can be analyzed in numerous ways; but without a background in biology, the computer scientist is working blindly, without understanding what the data he is processing means. This can lead to misinterpretations of experimental results. The biologist, on the other hand, cannot interpret the data which she understands, because she does not have the knowledge of computational analysis. Here’s where the bioinformaticist comes in.
Some of the most important applications of bioinformatics are to do with understanding basic biological processes in the body, ways in which these processes may breakdown and cause disease, and with designing processes to improve drug discovery and development. Bioinformatics operates under:-
Data Gathering: Enormous amounts of basic data from biomolecular chemistry and related areas, very painstakingly gathered over long years by experimental and analytical scientists, are the body and substance of bioinformatics; these are the first clients.
Data Processors: The professionals of bioinformatics science use skills of complex software, to serve the needs of the 1st client and the end users should understand the area of the 1st client and the needs of the end users.
Process Product Users: End users of products, 1st and the 3rd parties need not have the skills of the 2nd partner.
There are a large number of fields where Bioinformatics is applied. These include agriculture, human health and environment. Teaching bioinformatics should be comprehensive covering all the three partnering areas.