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{bio,medical} informatics

Monday, June 05, 2006

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find related articles. powered by google. USA Today Me, myself and my gut genome

""Our body surfaces are home to microbial communities whose aggregate membership outnumbers our human somatic (functional) and germ (reproductive) cells by at least an order of magnitude," reports a research team led by Stephen Gill, who was with The Institute for Genomic Research in Rockville, Md., at the time the study was submitted to the current issue of the journal Science. The vast majority of these 10 to 100 trillion bugs live in the gut, most of them in the colon. And while the fancy-schmansy human genome got all the headlines a few years ago, Gill's team has succeeded in completing the first genetic analysis of this vast community of microbes living inside humanity's innards. At last.

Sort of like a very messy version of the Borg from Star Trek, these bugs and human beings rely on one another for survival, the team reports. Human genes don't produce some proteins that kick-start the chemistry needed to break down some foods — carbohydrates from plants, for example, something to think about the next time you eat a potato chip."

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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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