The term was invented by Paulien Hogeweg in 1970 as he studied the processes of information technology and applied them to biological systems. It involves using computers for collecting, organising and using the biological information for answering the questions in evolutionary biology.
The biologists do the research work in laboratories to collect the DNA and protein sequences, gene expressions etc. The computer scientists develop algorithms, software and tools for storing and analysing the obtained data.
The biological data is always obtained in the raw form and hence there is a need to store that data in a place where it can be stored properly without any risk of losing it in an organised manner which can also be later manipulated. Hence, they use computers. The biological software and databases help the scientists in saving the data, extracting the data as per requirement and also for changing anything later.
HOW IS BIOINFORMATICS TRANSFORMING BIOLOGY
- Bioinformatics is used widely in the field of microbial genome applications like identification of microbes that clean waste, for understanding the microorganism’s ability to withstand climatic changes, for biotechnology, for synthesising alternative energy.
- For making personalised medicine that is tailored according to individual patient use on the basis of their genetic information. This makes the disease diagnosis easier which emphasis laid on effective treatment.
- Bioinformatics is used in discovering drugs. Using X-ray crystallography for studying the protein structure helps in drug discovery. The enabling of complete sequencing of human genes has resulted in making drugs which can target almost 500 genes.
- The mapped genomes of varied organisms can be saved in the computers in form of databases. The observation, DNA sequencing, analysis and interpretation are done by computers which cut down the manual labour.
- It also helps in finding more drug targets and medicines which work without leaving any side effects. Now, the pinpointing of genes responsible for the disease can be done which helps in observing the complete molecular basis of the disease.
The technology-driven approach has helped in transforming the complete realm of biology. A lot of manual labour is cut down and there are fewer chances of errors. The databases are saved in computers which make it easier to find the correct diagnosis for the patient. The patient’s history is known and hence, the overall process has modernised and become fast.