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Bioinformatics: How Computer Science Is Changing Biology


Bioinformatics - How Computer Science Is Changing Biology

It’s not the secret that computers are able to change the modeling of science. The power to extract specific information from huge pieces of data and alter everything from quantum physics to astronomy. There is no other area that is witnessing so much benefits from computers than biology. There’s an astonishing amount of valuable and available information in our biological system. So what is meaning of  bioinformatics? With bioinformatics we are able to carefully use computers in the area of biology. It includes things like computing and fast speed or machine learning for the cause of solving biological problems. Right now, the current computer had managed to create some great breakthroughs in the field of medical industry, from analyzing and mapping of protein sequences and necessary DNA, to validation of pharmaceutical drugs and even building artificial models of organs in great details. Even though we established and achieved a great deal of innovations, many scientists and experts thinks that the future is even more bright.

There are many advancements in the future that we can happily look forward to since technology is always evolving and with it our understanding of biology is developing and growing. There’s an amazing amount of data being generated in biology. Starting from smallest known sequences of DNA – antarctic midge fly which has 99 million DNA base pairs. For comparing, human genome has 3.2 billion DNA pairs, dogs have 2.8 billion and cats 2.7 billion base pairs. The real benefits of bioinformatics is curing the hard diseases like cancer. And I hope this will be possible in near future thanks to technology. 2 years ago, 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer, and it still remains one of deadliest sicknesses known to humans. With the help of bioinformatics we are able to predict more accurately if someone is at big risk of gaining disease and then do everything we can to prevent this, for example changing our lifestyle.

This is done with genomic sequencing. It’s very successful in identifying patients who are at risk of breast cancer. Bioinformatics is also changing the way how pharma companies are developing drugs. Researches from university in Tel Aviv created supercomputer that is able to simulate various changes happening in 3D structure of protein, that is occurring every millisecond.  The results are helping many researches in understanding fundamental mechanism of molecules and many biological diseases and processes. Companies for cloud computing are also jumping in the bandwagon. They are using technology for mapping genes as well as providing more then hundred ways to interpret the variations of genetic data.

There are even companies specialized in personal genomics. For example, Pathway Genomics developed ”Brca True” which is personal risk test for breast cancer. This product was rated as one of top 12 greatest products for year 2014. It should not come as surprise that companies are producing personal risk tests as in a study, 2 out of 3 consumers said that their tests are very useful. Almost 40% consumers are sharing those results with physicians.