BIOINFORMATICS FOR MEDICAL STUDENTS
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. Bioinformatics is a emerging science which
incorporates information technology applied in biological research to store, collect and retrieve
biologically oriented data, to analyze and predict the composition of molecules (nucleic acids,
proteins, etc.) and to model biological systems through mathematical, statistical and computer
methods. It brings together the fields of Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Bio Technology and
Genetics under the fold of computers and software advances. Thanks to James Watson - Crick in
basic understanding of the Bacterial DNA (genome), which lead to the basis of coding Chromosomes
through the Super Computers? The Bioinformatics is changing the entire concept on gene. In future
we may be compelled to view life and disease through the Chemistry of Genes.
1. Computer Speaks on Bio information: With feeding of complicated information to a computer it
analyses the facts, it even speaks that life is a pack of information with a clear message that book of
the life written in the complex DNA consisting of four letters. A.T.G. C. In future science expects that
Physician can solve many mysteries of disease just looking into a computer and the greatest
advantage lies in detection of most of the Genetic disorders. In future Bio informed computers may
do many diagnostic tests, the chip locating abnormal base pairs at different gene locations.
2. Bioinformatics and Proteomics: The knowledge of information about the Genes and Science of
Genomics lead to science of proteomics, which analyses every protein in human functional
dynamics. The science of proteomics will revolutionize the understanding of Hormones,
Immunoglobulin’s targeting infections and Enzymes that build or break energy reserves. We are
aware now, that there are too, many proteins, which guide our life (50,000 to about 2 millions). But
few Proteins play the real orchestra, modifying different actions in day-to-day life. Already many Bio
Technology firms have started proteomics Programme, if the events succeed to desired expectations
there will be better quality of life serving to minute details.
3. Bioinformatics in Gene Therapy: Gene therapy suffered with many problems in the past will have
a greater revival with better understanding of human genome. Many Gene therapy trails will
become virtual realities.
4Drugs for Future: At present we use several drugs with a broad understanding to target only 500
proteins in the body, out of the 30,000 proteins already known, with advances in Genomic Medicine
there will be more rational approach in drug discovery and clinical application. In future it is possible
to target the diseases like Diabetes and Cancer before the onset of physical disease (phenotypic
expression). The scientific visions include interfering with the sick cell, sparing the healthy cells,
making the therapy least toxic and harmful. The discovery in this direction lead to discovery of
Monoclonal antibodies, choosing the particular receptor on the cancer cell responsible for
propagation of disease. With better understanding on Bioinformatics Anti Cancer Drug discoveries
will be target oriented with least toxic effects on normal cells. The following diseases are being
targeted by many drug firms with Bioinformatics include: AIDS, Mental Illnesses, Auto Immune
Disease, Obesity, Alzheimer's disease, Heart Disease and Parkinson's disease.
The aims of bioinformatics are basically three-fold. They are
• Organization of data in such a way that it allows researchers to access existing information & to
submit new entries as they are produced. While data-creation is an essential task, the information
stored in these databases is useless unless analyzed. Thus the purpose of bioinformatics extends
well beyond mere volume control.
• To develop tools and resources that help in the analysis of data. For example, having sequenced a
particular protein, it is with previously characterized sequences. This requires more than just a
straightforward database search. As such, programs such as FASTA and PSI-BLAST much consider
what constitutes a biologically significant resemblance. Development of such resources extensive
knowledge of computational theory, as well as a thorough understanding of biology.
• Use of these tools to analyse the individual systems in detail, and frequently compared them with
few that are related.
ROLE OF BIOINFORMATICS - IN THE FUTURE MEDICAL CARE.
The art of Medicine will be enriched with biology as source of future developments in Medicine in
the near future, every standard text book on Medicine, articles, journals published from reputed
medical institutions emphasize the origin of disease on Genetic basis locating, few base pairs of
Genes responsible for any complicated disease. The treatment approaches will be on targets of
pathological process rather than vague remedies; the need for Bioinformatics capabilities has been
highlighted by availability of Genomic information from Human genome project. Let there be more
workshops, CME's & Seminars on orientation of Bioinformatics and Biomedicine to our Doctors. We
teachers in medicine should put our best efforts in understanding the role of Genes in disease and
spread the message to our students, so that we do not remain isolated from the progress of Science
for human benefit.
The most pressing tasks in bioinformatics involve the analysis of sequence information.
Computational Biology is the name given to this process, and it involves the following: Finding the
genes in the DNA sequences of various organisms
• Developing 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
• Aligning similar proteins and generating phylogenetic trees to examine evolutionary relationships
Just look at the latest edition of any Medical textbook half of the matters are dealt on Molecular
basis, if we do not incorporate the idea of Molecular biology for our students we will left isolated on
advances in Modern Medicine. Many matters on Tomorrows Medicine are dealt with manipulation
of DNA? (Ref Advancing Medicine)
Dr.T.V.Rao MD Professor of microbiology Freelance writer Revised article from Articlesbase.com
with title Bioinformatics in Future Medical Care by Dr.T.V.Rao MD published 2008