Bioinformatics is a discipline that combines computational techniques and applications applied to biology as a whole.
That is, although biology and computer science are two disciplines, so is bioinformatics. In this sense, it should be noted that computer science is a multidisciplinary discipline. Which can be applied to a multitude of different subjects and subjects, as well as almost any type of science.
On the other hand, it is important to know that biology is the discipline that studies the characteristics of living beings. On the other hand, computer science is the one that studies the hardware and software of electronic devices. Combined both are the study of biology via computational tools and techniques.
Therefore, although it can be said that bioinformatics is a discipline and, therefore, it is a subject of study. To do this, you need prior advanced knowledge in biology and, to a lesser extent, computer science.
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Characteristics and factors of bioinformatics
The basis of bioinformatics also lies in the widespread use of technology in the field of biology. In this sense, we could say that bioinformatics is one of the pillars of biotechnology.
In other words, while statistics is a discipline on its own, it is part of an even larger discipline that encompasses it: mathematics. It is the same case then, between bioinformatics and biotechnology, respectively.
In this order, biotechnology is the discipline by which technology is applied in the field of biology and its derivatives. This is the reason why bioinformatics is within biotechnology. Since the use of information technology involves applying technology to the study of biological science.
Therefore, what characterizes bioinformatics is the processing of data, knowledge and techniques adapted to machines and artifacts that help in the study of biology. An example would be to create a database in which each living being possesses a very extensive library of images. The objective is that each individual can recognize them via AI, taking photographs or sketches.
This idea exists both in a real way with more or less success, but also in some series and movies. The best known case is that of the mythical ‘pokedex’. This device from the animated series ‘Pokémon’ worked in such a way that the user, when seeing a creature or animal from the series, immediately took out the ‘pokédex’ and this narrated certain information and characteristics of the living being in question.
Therefore, it is important to note that any technological application in the field of biology can be considered part of biotechnology. Consequently, if it is specifically an application of computer or computational origin, it will be, within biotechnology, an application of a bioinformatic nature.
Bioinformatics application example
To put into context how bioinformatics is applied and how it can be useful, its impact on the study of the human genome will be explained in an entertaining and summarized way.
In the first place, the genome is that complete set of DNA that belongs to a cell of a certain living being. In other words, the study of a genome is the study of how the DNA of a living being is constructed.
On the other hand, in this aspect, information technology is key in terms of speeding up processes and structuring data and sequences. In the study of this subject, the use of computational techniques and applications is practically essential.
We understand by sequencing a genome the act of studying a series of correlated events. In this case, the DNA has a series of characteristics and factors that make the information as a whole interdependent.
In other words, we cannot pretend to conceive a being that possesses breathing attributes typical of a living marine being, when the rest of its organism is adapted to the terrestrial environment. If we refer to the field of DNA, everything should theoretically have some interconnection.
In fact, this form of genome study first occurred in 1995, when scientist Owen White and his team sequenced the genome of a living being, in this case, that of a bacterium, using software for the first time. Therefore, Owen White is considered a bioinformatician.