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Chromosome

​Bioinformatics

updated: September 23, 2022

Definition

Bioinformatics, as related to genetics and genomics, is a scientific subdiscipline that involves using computer technology to collect, store, analyze and disseminate biological data and information, such as DNA and amino acid sequences or annotations about those sequences. Scientists and clinicians use databases that organize and index such biological information to increase our understanding of health and disease and, in certain cases, as part of medical care.



Narration

Bioinformatics. The role of bioinformatics in biological research can be compared with the role of data analysis in the age of information and the Internet. In earlier days, the primary challenge was getting to the information. Advances in reading DNA sequences have lowered that barrier substantially. Going forward, the challenge is how to understand and interpret the information that has been collected. Because the data sets are large, whether you're talking about information about website visits or the human genome, computer-based methods are the default approach. In the end, bioinformatics work with human genomes seeks to discover practical insights about human health and biology with all its complexity.

David Adams
David Adams, M.D., Ph.D.

Senior Clinician

Office of the Clinical Director, NHGRI