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Bioinformatics Data Skills by Vince Buffalo

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Chapter 14. Conclusion

When I set out to write Bioinformatics Data Skills, I initially struggled with how I could present intermediate-level bioinformatics in book format in a way that wouldn’t quickly become obsolete in the fast-moving field of bioinformatics. Even in the time it has taken to complete my book, new shiny algorithms, statistical methods, and bioinformatics software have been released and adopted by the bioinformatics community. It’s possible (perhaps even likely) that new sequencing technology will again revolutionize biology and bioinformaticians will need to adapt their approaches and tools. How can a print book be a valuable learning asset in this changing environment?

I found the solution to this problem by looking at the tools I use most in my everyday bioinformatics work: Unix, Python, and R. Unix dates back to the early 1970s, making it over 40 years old. The initial release of Python was in 1991 and R was born soon after in 1993, making both of these languages over 20 years old. These tools have all stood the test of time and are the foundation of modern data processing and statistical computing. Bioinformatics and Unix have a nearly inseparable history—the necessary first step of learning bioinformatics skills is to learn Unix. While genomics is rapidly evolving, bioinformaticians continue to reach for same standard tools to tackle new problems and analyze new datasets. Furthermore, Unix, Python, and R are all extensible tools. Nearly every new bioinformatics ...

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