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{bio,medical} informatics

Monday, March 20, 2000

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The Gene Letter Wherefore art thou disease genes?
"One of the big surprises arising from the sequencing of the human genome is how common genetic variations (mutations) are. Earlier guesses may have underestimated the actual frequency by 200 or 300 percent. And though "hot spots" exist, the high rate - about one in every 300 sites in the genome - appears to be spread evenly across all DNA regions.

But among all the DNA variations in our genomes, a true "disease gene" will never be found. That's because the concept of a gene which has altered function resulting in disease is primarily a social construction, not a biological one. It arises in part from our persistent need to gain more scientific insight in to disease and illness."

[ 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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