Math in the Natural Sciences

Math in Biology

What is bioinformatics?

Bioinformatics is a field that evolved by joining biology and information science. In the past few decades, advances in molecular biology and the increase in computer power have allowed biologists to accomplish tasks such as mapping large portions of genomes of several species. For example, a baker’s yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been sequenced in full.

Humans have not been exempt, either: The Human Genome Project was completed in 2003. It determined the complete sequence of the three billion DNA subunits (bases) for humans, identified all human genes, and made all the associated information accessible for further biological study. Since that time, other universities and agencies have taken on the task of analyzing the results, such as determining the gene number, exact locations, and functions. Such a deluge of information has also made it necessary to store, organize, and index all the sequence data, which is where information science, or the method to store and work on such large amounts of data, comes in the form of bioinformatics. The computer experts who deal with such information are known as bioinformatics specialists.


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