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{bio,medical} informatics

Tuesday, February 22, 2000

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MIT Technology Review The Bell Labs of Biology
"The sequence of the human genome is determined once in the history of mankind. It’s a unique time in biology and chemistry—equivalent to the advent of quantum mechanics in physics. The question is—how do we begin to understand and assimilate the huge amount of information encoded in the genome? The other revolution that has occurred during the last 10 years in the biological and physical sciences is in the way in which we carry out experimental science. There’s been a tremendous increase in our ability to design, implement and analyze experiments—to carry them out not one at a time but thousands or millions at a time. That has been made possible by combinatorial technologies, computational tools and advances in engineering and miniaturization—the kind of tools and processes that revolutionized the semiconductor industry are being moved over into the biological and physical sciences. The bottom line is that without that set of tools it would be damn near impossible to deal with the huge amount of information related to the human genome."

[ rhetoric ]

Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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