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Bioinformatics has evolved into a full-fledged multidisciplinary subject that integrates developments in information...

What is Bioinformatics?

Bioinformatics has evolved into a full-fledged multidisciplinary subject that integrates developments in information and computer technology as applied to Biotechnology and Biological Sciences. Bioinformatics uses computer software tools for database creation, data management, data warehousing, data mining and global communication networking. Bioinformatics is the recording, annotation, storage, analysis, and searching/retrieval of nucleic acid sequence (genes and RNAs), protein sequence and structural information. This includes databases of the sequences and structural information as well methods to access, search, visualize and retrieve the information. Bioinformatics concern the creation and maintenance of databases of biological information whereby researchers can both access existing information and submit new entries. Function genomics, biomolecular structure, proteome analysis, cell metabolism, biodiversity, downstream processing in chemical engineering, drug and vaccine design are some of the areas in which Bioinformatics is an integral component.

Sub-disciplines within bioinformatics
There are three important sub-disciplines within bioinformatics involving computational biology:

  • The development of new algorithms and statistics with which to assess relationships among members of large data sets
  • The analysis and interpretation of various types of data including nucleotide and amino acid sequences, protein domains, and protein structures and
  • The development and implementation of tools that enable efficient access and management of different types of information

Activities in bioinformatics
We can split the activities in bioinformatics in two areas (1) the organization and (2) the analysis of biological data Organization activity in Bioinformatics

  • The creation of databases of biological information
  • The analysis and interpretation of various types of data including nucleotide and amino acid sequences, protein domains, and protein structures and

Analysis activity in bioinformatics

  • Development of methods to predict the structure and/or function of newly discovered proteins and structural RNA sequences.
  • Clustering protein sequences into families of related sequences and the development of protein models.
  • Aligning similar proteins and generating phylogenetic trees to examine evolutionary relationships

Bioinformatics Industry Overview

The report "Bioinformatics Market by Sector (Molecular Medicine, Agriculture, Forensic, Animal, Research & Gene Therapy), Product (Sequencing Platforms, Knowledge Management & Data Analysis) & Application (Genomics, Proteomics & Metabolomics) - Global Forecast to 2021", The bioinformatics market is projected to reach USD 16.18 Billion by 2021 from USD 6.21 Billion in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 21.1% during the forecast period.

Increasing demand for nucleic acid and protein sequencing, increasing initiatives from government and private organizations, growing application of bioinformatics, and improved collaborative tie ups between companies and research institutes are the major reasons for the growth of the bioinformatics market. On the other side, lack of well-defined standards and common data formats for integration of data, shortage of skilled bioinformatics professionals and lack of adequate user-friendly applications are the major factors need to be worked on for growth of this market. Industry's demand for scientists with skills in Bioinformatics far exceeds the supply of qualified specialists in the field.

Scope of Bioinformatics in India

India has emerged as a land of immense opportunities in the area of bioinformatics. Indian bioinformatics market growth is intact and is expected to be in double digits in the coming years. Bioinformatics is relatively a new profession of study as far as India is concerned. Bioinformatics have always been an attractive profession in developed countries like US and UK. However in India, its awareness is raising fast among the new generation and more and more number of students are taking it as a career option as opposed to traditional lines of science.

Bioinformatics uses advances in the area of computer science, information science, and computer and information technology, communication technology to solve complex problems in life sciences and particularly in biotechnology. Data capture, data warehousing and data mining have become major issues for biotechnologists and biological scientists due to sudden growth in quantitative data in biology such as complete genomes of biological species including human genome, protein sequences, protein 3-D structures, metabolic pathways databases, cell line & hybridoma information, biodiversity related information. Bioinformatics, the multidisciplinary area, has grown so much that one divides it into molecular bioinformatics, organal bioinformatics and species bioinformatics. Issues related to biodiversity and environment, cloning of higher animals such as Dolly and Polly, tissue culture and cloning of plants have brought out that Bioinformatics is not only a support branch of science but is also a subject that directs future course of research in biotechnology and life sciences.

The importance and usefulness of Bioinformatics is realized in last few years by many industries. Therefore, large Bioinformatics R & D divisions are being established in many pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies and even in other conventional industry dealing with biological. Bioinformatics is thus rated as number one career in the field of biosciences.

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