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Beginning Programming ALL-IN-ONE DESK REFERENCE FOR DUMMIES® by Wallace Wang

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Chapter VII.2. Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics, or computational biology, combines computer science with molecular biology to solve biological problems on a molecular level. This basically means using computers to study proteins and genes to predict protein structures, drug interactions, and gene splicing.

Because bioinformatics embraces both computer science and molecular biology, there are two common paths to working in bioinformatics. The first involves studying computers and then learning about molecular biology so you'll know what your programs are supposed to do. The second involves studying molecular biology and then learning computer programming so you can write programs to aid in your research.

Each way depends on your main interest. Not all computer scientists want to know or study molecular biology and not all molecular biologists want to go through the hassle of learning computer programming. As a result, bioinformatics is a rare combination of diverse skills that will be in high demand in the near future. If the idea of using a computer to study cloning, genetic engineering, and cures for diseases appeals to you, bioinformatics may be the perfect outlet for your talent.

Note

The terms bioinformatics and computation biology are often used interchangeably. Technically, bioinformatics focuses more on creating algorithms and writing programs whereas computational biology focuses more on using computers as tools for biological research.

The Basics of Bioinformatics

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