What is Bioinformatics?

Bioinformatics is the hybrid field that lies at the intersection of information technology and molecular biology. It involves the use of biological information in areas like evolutionary biology. The professionals who work in this field are sometimes termed bioinformaticians but may also be called biometricians or computational biologists.

Why is Bioinformatics Necessary?

Throughout history, humans have sought to understand how our bodies work, mainly by observing the various components. The effort to observe and understand human biology involves managing large amounts of information. In recent years, there has been a major increase in the volume of biological data as well as in the quality of that data. This is mainly because there have been major advances in the fields of molecular biology and genomic technology. The abundance of new information poses certain challenges such as the fact that all of this data must be gathered, organized and stored. Only then can it be used for purposes such as the discovery and development of gene-based drugs. Bioinformatics involves the development of methods and software for managing that data and is defined as a separate field from computational biology, which is the application of those methods and software in biology.

Bioinformatics and the Management of Bioscience Data

The bioinformatics field was made necessary largely due to the immense amounts of information acquired by the Human Genome Project. The Human Genome Project has made use of powerful computer technology in the effort to sequence the entire human genome.

Scientific Applications of Bioinformatics

Evolutionary Biology

This field involves trying to find shared evolutionary histories between different organisms. Bioinformatics is used to track data thus providing evolutionary biologists with insights into what causes and cures various diseases.


In this field, bioinformatics can be used to study the genomes of microorganisms in the effort to assist with the development of biotechnology along with antibiotic resistance and other areas.

Protein Modeling

Bioinformatics can be used to test proteins and learn more about their functions in the body, which is determined by DNA sequences. The results of these tests can tell researchers more about the development of diseases in living organisms.

Genome Mapping

Genome maps allow scientists to find genes, which makes them more productive and can speed up scientific advancements. Bioinformatics can allow scientists to spend less time on the process of mapping the human genome and more on testing their hypotheses.

The Future of Bioinformatics

The success of modern life science is largely due to the culture of bioinformatics. Unlike the consumer electronics industry, there is a focus on open-access data and open source software. The biotechnology industry tends to be more supportive of open standards and data. Due to this culture, bioinformatics is expected to continue evolving rapidly and pushing at the boundaries of both molecular biology and computer science.

Related Resource: Become a Data Scientist

The field of bioinformatics may be ideal for you whether your focus is on virology, the development of databases or on genetics. While numerous changes will occur in the near future, according to Science Magazine, the bottom line is that the field of bioinformatics is growing and offers more opportunities than ever before