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General
  • Bioinformatics and computational biology involve the use of techniques including applied mathematics, informatics, statistics, computer science, artificial intelligence, chemistry and biochemistry to solve biological problems usually on the molecular level.
  • The terms bioinformatics and computational biology are often used interchangeably. However bioinformatics more properly refers to the creation and advancement of algorithms, computational and statistical techniques, and theory to solve formal and practical problems posed by or inspired from the management and analysis of biological data.

Applications

  • Various fields that use Bioinformatics are Molecular medicine, Personalized medicine, Preventative medicine, Gene therapy, Drug development, Microbial genome applications, Waste cleanup, Climate change Studies, Alternative energy sources, Biotechnology, Antibiotic resistance, Forensic analysis of microbes, The reality of bioweapon creation, Evolutionary studies, Crop improvement, Insect resistance, Improve nutritional quality, Development of Drought resistance varieties, Vetinary Science, Comparative Studies.
  • Bioinformatics is a major requirement not only to the future of genomics but also to most areas of biological and biomedical research. Its key challenge is to bridge the considerable gap between large scale data production and its interpretation.

Technology

  • DNA microarray technology has now made it possible to simultaneously monitor the expression levels of thousands of genes during important biological processes and across collections of related samples. Elucidating the patterns hidden in gene expression data offers a tremendous opportunity for an enhanced understanding of functional genomics. 

  • The point of having bioinformatics databases available in the first place is to enable sophisticated analyses of data spanning multiple databases, which results in new information in the form of annotations and collected result sets. The proliferation of infrastructure such as annotation systems, Grid/Web Services-based data processing services and visualization tools on top of a series of incompatible standards is stymied by the repeated chore of special-casing for each database. 

Market and Report

  • Some companies in India have made forays locally and into the global market. In June 2004 Strand Genomics from Bangalore licensed its microarray gene expression analysis software to antibody company Abgenix in Fremont, California. And Lion Bioscience Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, licensed NetPro, a proprietary protein interaction database of Molecular Connections, in Bangalore, to conduct drug target identification research exclusively for Bayer, Leverkusen, Germany. Similarly Ocimum Biosolutions, which has acquired Microarrays from  MWG, Germany called Ocichips and the entirearray of microarray products, had sales of Rs 7 crore and is now targeting at reaching Rs 30 crore. It has entered into a  marketing alliance with UBI, Scimax, Science partners to market its products in the global market. 

  • The Indian Bioinformatics market, which  is  only 2.5 per cent of the global market, has the potential  to  capture 5 per cent of the global pie, provided necessary  actions  are taken by the Centre. In addition to the national demand, there would be  international  demand in view of the intrinsic quality of Indian  Bioinformatics  professionals and therefore premium attached to them. The  report  states  that the demand for Indian  Bioinformatics  professionals  from rest of the world is expected to rise from 348 in 203-04  to  a total of 8169 by 2012-13.

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