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{bio,medical} informatics

Thursday, March 21, 2002

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find related articles. powered by google. The Economist Deviations from the mean

"AT SOME point during their education, biology students are told about a conversation in a pub that took place over 50 years ago. J.B.S. Haldane, a British geneticist, was asked whether he would lay down his life for his country. After doing a quick calculation on the back of a napkin, he said he would do so for two brothers or eight cousins. In other words, he would die to protect the equivalent of his genetic contribution to the next generation."

"All of these examples fit economists' arguments that Homo sapiens is also Homo economicus —maximising something that economists call utility, and biologists fitness. But there is a residuum of human activity that defies such explanations: people contribute to charities for the homeless, return lost wallets, do voluntary work and tip waiters in restaurants to which they do not plan to return. Both economic rationalism and natural selection offer few explanations for such random acts of kindness. Nor can they easily explain the opposite: spiteful behaviour, when someone harms his own interest in order to damage that of another. But people are now trying to find answers."

[ 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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