The New Emerging Science That Is Clinical Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that is aimed to develop tools to better understand biological data. This combines many branches of knowledge, specifically  Computer Science, Biology, Mathematics, and Engineering to interpret biological data. Bioinformatics has been used for in silico analyses of biological queries using mathematical and statistical techniques.

Questions Covered:

  1. What is Bioinformatics?

  2. History of Bioinformatics

  3. How can Bioinformatics be used clinically?

More specifically, clinical bioinformatics is a new emerging science combining clinical informatics, bioinformatics, medical informatics, information technology, mathematics, and omics science together. This new breakthrough in technology can play an important role in a number of clinical applications, including omics technology, metabolic and signaling pathways, biomarker discovery and development, computational biology, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, pharmacomics, transcriptomics, high-throughput image analysis, human molecular genetics, human tissue bank, mathematical medicine and biology, protein expression and profiling and systems biology.

History of Bioinformatics

Long before the term “bioinformatics” was even coined, the core principles were being used by scientist in the pursuit of knowledge. A great example is marked when Gregor Mendel was able to discover genetic inheritance. Mendel was noted by his works and experimentations on the cross-fertilization of different colors of the same species. He illustrated that the inheritance of traits could be more easily understood and explained if it was controlled by factors that are passed down from one generation to the next. Gregor Mendel later on came to be named the “Father of Genetics”.

After Mendel’s studies in this field, the understanding of genetics has advanced greatly in the last few decades. In 1972, Paul Berg made the first recombinant DNA molecule using ligase; also in that same year the first recombinant DNA organism was produced by Stanley Cohen and his colleagues. The 1960’s and 1970’s were notable for the beginning of the computer age. The advancement in the field of computers resulted in the basic methodology and foundation of bioinformatics, and when the internet was born in the 1990’s, bioinformatics became a full fledged field.

How can bioinformatics be used clinically?

Clinical bioinformatics sheds new light on the combination of clinical measurements and signs associated with human tissue-generated bioinformatics, and helps experts understand these clinical signs and symptoms. It also aids experts in monitoring disease development and progress, and develop therapeutic strategies and aid in clinical examinations, pathology, biochemical analysis, imaging and various types of therapy. Biomarker discovery is a key area for future Bioinformatic research and can be the answer to early discovery of many illnesses. Lastly, using bioinformatics to better understand the interaction of prescribed and non-prescribed drugs in the organism can provide insight to improvements in both prescribed dosages and potential drug-drug interactions.

Bioinformatics is used in following fields:

Microbial genome applications

The major impact of the bioinformatics has been in automating the microbial genome sequencing, the development of integrated databases. Analysis of genomes to understand gene and genome function in practical ways is a result of this.

Molecular medicine

Bioinformatics has helped scientists be able to map out the entire human genome computationally. This has improved biological research and clinical medicine. Since the knowledge of the human genome is now complete, it is possible to single out and analyze the genes that are directly related to illness and disease.

Personalised medicine

Since this field develops new ways and tools that better help understand biological data, it is possible for physicians to give personalized treatment to their patients based on the information based on their biological data.

Preventive medicine

The application of bioinformatics systems can accelerate population health research across the continuum from prevention to detection, diagnosis, treatment, and outcome.

Gene therapy

The role of bioinformatics in this process is to analyze sequence and molecular data. An additional role for bioinformatics in genome-based therapies is to collect information on all of the human genes and proteins in order to come up with appropriate methods of therapy.

Drug development

Bioinformatics has helped experts meet the demands for the increasing pressure to generate more and more drugs in a short period of time with low risk. Bioinformatics offers prediction and identification of biologically active candidates, and mining and storage of related information.

Antibiotic resistance

Bioinformatics has changed the face of molecular studies as to determine the protein structure, gene structure or sequence, molecular markers and relate them to other previously known structures. Bioinformatics studies have provided fundamental ways of modeling a biological living cell system and docking proteins that enabled scientists to discover effective drug strategies to combat the diversifying problem of antibiotic resistance among the common casuals of infectious diseases.

References for further reading:

Changing the World. One Test at a Time.

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