What is bioinformatics and how do we use it?

Bioinformatics is the discipline of storing and analysing large amounts of complicated biological data to get new insights, which we employ in a variety of ways.

Bioinformatics is crucial to a great deal of biological research and involves biologists who learn programming or computer programmers, mathematicians, or database administrators who study the fundamentals of biology.

Modern science is not limited to reporting a single set of results and hope that other scientists will read them. It is about connecting everything that exists to create new insights that we can only recognise if we have a broad perspective. Bioinformatics enables us to compile the data from numerous trials in a single location, allowing us to pose and answer these important questions.

Bioinformatics enables us to manage and interpret the massive amounts of data involved.

In bioinformatics, biological data are processed, stored, and analysed. Examples include: Creating databases to hold experimental data Predicting the manner in which proteins fold Simulating how all the chemical reactions within a cell interact.

What type of biological data can be used in bioinformatics?


The study of the entire set of RNA transcripts in a cell's transcriptome. Genes are not always active. They are activated and deactivated by proteins and chemical messengers. A gene that is activated or expressed will be used to make RNA?, which serves as the instructions for protein construction. For example, your body produces haemoglobin to transport oxygen in red blood cells, but white blood cells do not require it. Therefore, we would identify RNA associated with haemoglobin production in tissues that create red blood cells but not in areas that produce white blood cells. RNA sequencing allows scientists to compare gene expression in various cell types, such as healthy and sick cells.


The study of all proteins present in a cell or system. Genes supply the instructions that our cells utilise to manufacture proteins, the cellular machinery. Scientists can examine a tissue sample to determine which proteins are present.


The study of phenotypes at the level of the entire genome. Scientists use the term phenotype to describe something that can be measured about an individual. A phenotype could be "diabetes risk" or "eye colour." Bioinformatics enables us to search for potential DNA-phenotype correlations.


examination of chemical and biological data using computational methods. The drug research industry creates a large amount of experimental data. Large databases of drug information can aid in the development of new medications by providing examples of chemicals that target a specific protein.

How can we use bioinformatics to answer questions in genomics?

Depending on the issue a laboratory wishes to answer, any of the forms of bioinformatics data listed above may be used as a starting point. There are two primary strategies:

HumanMine and OpenTargets allow scientists to begin with a gene and determine which proteins it encodes. They then determine where the proteins are located in the body and which diseases are associated with them.

Starting from the genome:

Researchers in the field of health begin with a large-scale study of volunteers willing to contribute phenotypic measurements and genetic samples. This demographic information enables researchers to determine whether a phenotype is associated with a disease or to identify a gene that may be impacting the phenotype. Volunteers in large studies such as UK Biobank make bioinformatics data readily available to researchers who request permission to use it.

Starting from the population: