"HIV is a major global health problem, with over 40 million people infected worldwide. Biomedical researchers are working to create a vaccine that would be effective against many different strains, taking into account all the individual differences in people's immune systems. Viral RNA sequences have been extracted from thousands of blood samples from infected patients. Each sequence is a string of about 9000 nucleotides serving as a program for viral assembly. Parts of patients' own genomes are sequenced in order to categorize their immune types, which are known to affect immune response and thus viral diversity through natural selection."
The problem of parsing the structure of the genetic sequences (RNA/DNA or proteins), is similar to the problem of parsing the structure of other natural signals, such as images or sounds. At Microsoft Research, we have been working on machine-learning and data-mining algorithms that aim to automatically parse such data for uses relevant to Microsoft, such as video/image browsing, spam filtering, and speech recognition. These same techniques can be applied to medicine.
“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.”BIOINFORMATICS IN THE 21st CENTURY
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