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{bio,medical} informatics

Saturday, August 23, 2003

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find related articles. powered by google. MIT Technology Review An Emphasis on Compassion

"To help the New York City medical examiner identify the remains of the thousands of victims of 9/11, tiny bioinformatics company Gene Codes created M-FISys--the first software capable of managing such massive amounts of genetic evidence."

"M-FISys brings together three types of DNA analysis--some standard, some not generally used for identification purposes--for repeated "all-against-all" comparisons among victim and kinship samples. The program constructs "virtual" DNA profiles where actual ones have literally gone up in smoke and permits users to add or subtract sample analyses from the composites as the evidence changes. It can link to other databases, such as those containing descriptions of, say, family relationships or what the victim wore to work the day of the disaster, or the medical examiner's postmortem findings. It can present a snapshot of not just every test done on a sample but of the progression of those tests, as well as the forensic scientists' comments. "M-FISys allows us to do quality checks on the software, on the samples, on the analysis," says Robert C. Shaler, director of the Department of Forensic Biology for New York City. "We can, at a glance, get an idea of what samples we have and what results we have on them so that we can quickly go through and ascertain what else we need to do.""

[ 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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