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An Overview of Bioinformatics

Sudha Giri


What is bioinformatics? Biology and computer science? How are they related to each other? This question, I believe, could have been raised even in the nineteenth century, when computer and biological technologies were just emerging. The great Louis Pasteur (1822–1895) was researching the relationship between the presence of a particular microorganism and alcohol fermentation in a particular French city. Ada Lovelace, a mathematician who shared Charles Babbage’s vision, was attempting to calculate the Bernoulli numbers while Babbage (1791–1871), who was lubricating his analytical engine, was lubricating his analytical engine in another English city. These two gentlemen are now regarded as the fathers of biotechnology and computers, respectively. Did Pasteur and Babbage ever get together? They had to travel for about 25 years and were only about 1000 kilometres apart to do so. If they did meet, they most likely never spoke, because we do not know if they ever did. Please allow me to make a crude joke: Pasteur was French, and Babbage was British. Besides the weather, what else do they share? What do the gear wheels that were turning away from crunching numbers have in common with the microbes that play a mysterious role in alcohol fermentation? 


Bioinformatics, genome, modelling, sequencing, system biology

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