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"Bioinformatics analysis" is a term used to describe a body of techniques that use computerized systems to collect and analyze large bodies of biological data. Bioinformatics is a multidisciplinary approach to biological problems and often involves extensive use of computer science and mathematics in addition to the traditional biology and chemistry approaches that are commonly used to confront biological problems. Many of the central techniques in bioinformatics analysis are based in statistics. They involve gathering a large body of data, generally from many experiments and sometimes from many different laboratories, and looking for statistical trends and significant correlations. Applications of bioinformatics analysis include DNA sequence analysis, gene expression and regulation analysis, and comparisons of genomes of different organisms.
Many different techniques are used in bioinformatics analysis based on the particular biological problems that need to be solved. In some cases, bioinformatics simply involves gathering large bodies of information into a single database and running basic statistical analyses on the collected data. Others involve much more nuanced manipulation of collected information and may involve complex, mathematically-involved computer programs. The one thing that most methods in bioinformatics have in common is that they involve the collection, manipulation, and analysis of large bodies of information gathered during experiments.
One of the most important uses of bioinformatics analysis is analyzing sequences of strands of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). DNA molecules contain the genetic code that directs the structure and function of all organisms. While early manual methods of sequencing were used, they were very slow and completely implausible for large-scale sequencing projects. Bioinformatics analysis technology allows for very rapid sequencing that is many times faster than manual sequencing and is suitable for large-scale projects. DNA sequencing, as well as ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequencing and protein sequencing, can be used to connect various structures and functions to their genetic codes, to identify mutations, and to compare the genomes of different organisms.
Automation is one of the major goals of bioinformatics analysis. There are many different situations in biological and biomedical research that involve the analysis of large bodies of information. While it is usually possible to analyze that information manually, there is often so much information that a single lab could work for weeks or longer to make sense of relatively small bodies of information. Bioinformatics analysis can be used to analyze the information so that the researchers can spend their time generating more data. The ability to analyze more data can result in more accurate, compelling, and significant information.
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