Math in the Natural Sciences

Math in Biology

What is computational biology?

Computational biology refers to biological studies that include computation, mainly with computers. Many biologists study computational biology to develop algorithms and software to manipulate and analyze biological data; they also use computers to develop and apply certain mathematical methods to analyze and simulate molecular biological processes.

Another good reason for this marriage of biology and computers is obvious in today’s world: the genome—human and otherwise. To take on the giant task of mapping genomes (the entire collection of genes in a species), scientists have turned to the computer, using it for such studies as genomic sequencing, computational genome analysis, and protein structure analysis.

Computational power is needed for a plethora of other tasks, too. For example, it is being used to develop methods to predict the structure and function of newly discovered proteins and structural RNA sequences in humans and other organisms, to group protein sequences into families of related sequences, and to generate phylogenetic trees (or lineage trees, such as the human relationship to apes) to examine evolutionary connections.


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