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Bioinformatics is a subdiscipline of biology and computer science concerned with the acquisition, storage, analysis, and dissemination of biological data, most often DNA and amino acid sequences. Bioinformatics uses computer programs for a variety of applications, including determining gene and protein functions, establishing evolutionary relationships, and predicting the three-dimensional shapes of proteins.
Bioinformatics is a field of computational science that has to do with the analysis of sequences of biological molecules. It usually refers to genes, DNA, RNA, or protein, and is particularly useful in comparing genes and other sequences in proteins and other sequences within an organism or between organisms, looking at evolutionary relationships between organisms, and using the patterns that exist across DNA and protein sequences to figure out what their function is. You can think about bioinformatics as essentially the linguistics part of genetics. That is, the linguistics people are looking at patterns in language, and that's what bioinformatics people do--looking for patterns within sequences of DNA or protein.
Bioinformatics includes biological studies that use computer programming as part of their methodology, as well as a specific analysis "pipelines" that are repeatedly used, particularly in the field of genomics. Common uses of bioinformatics include the identification of candidates genes and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Often, such identification is made with the aim of better understanding the genetic basis of disease, unique adaptations, desirable properties (esp. in agricultural species), or differences between populations. In a less formal way, bioinformatics also tries to understand the organizational principles within nucleic acid and protein sequences, called proteomics.
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