This is the sixth presentation at Eagle Genomics second symposium 29th March 2012. Presented by Mick Watson who is Director of ARK-Genomics, The Roslin Institute.
With bench scientists increasingly incapable of handling the volumes and types of sequence data, bioinformatics is now the most important aspect of genomics. It is impossible to carry out genomics research without sophisticated tools and intelligent, driven bioinformaticians. Often, bioinformaticians are best placed to design experiments and to advise on how to get the best results from genomics projects. BBSRC describe the current period of research as "The Age of Bioscience" when perhaps it should be "The Age of Bioinformatics". It is now time for bioinformatics to mature as a science, to increase the emphasis on "bio" as well as "informatics", and for bioinformaticians to lead the new wave of genomics research. Rather than a single genome per species, we must now recognise that every individual consists of a collection of genomes that are structurally variant; in addition to which, we can now measure epigenetic effects, such as methylation, at single-base accuracy. The paradigm is one individual, many genomes, many epigenomes. In addition to microbial metagenomics and the challenges faced therein, we are rapidly approaching large, eukaryotic metagenomics. All of these, combined with modern ways for communicating scientific research, combine to demand a new paradign for genomics research and an increased emphasis on the importance of bioinformatics.