Bioinformatics, which collects and analyzes complex biological data such as genetic codes. Bioinformatics involves the application of computer technology to manage volumes of biological information. Computers are used to not only store, but also gather, analyze and integrate biological and genetic data that can then be applied for such uses as gene-based drug discovery and development.
The discipline grew out of the massive amounts of information accumulated by the Human Genome Project, which has required advanced computer technology to help sequence the entire human genome, which amounts to some 3 billion base pairs. Thanks to Human Genome Research, applications for Bioinformatics extend to a number of arenas.
Basic research: Bioinformatics is relied upon to assist with research into such areas as comparative and evolutionary genomics, functional genomics and genome wide association analysis. The mass of genomic data generated by high performance technologies has made this discipline vital for storing, managing and analyzing genomic information commonly used in biological research today.
The application of bioinformatics is proving quite useful in this field as the human genome has helped unlock the genetic components for many diseases. Potential applications include drug discovery, personalized medicine, preventative medicine and gene therapy.
The potential applications here involve the study of microorganism genomes to assist with biotechnology developments, waste cleanup, climate change, antibiotic resistance and more.
Agriculture: By sequencing the genomes of animals and plants, genetic knowledge can be gleaned to help produce stronger crops while improving the quality of livestock.