Six years have elapsed since the first edition of this book was published. The field of structural bioinformatics has sustained a high level of excitement in that time, leading to innovative developments and considerable progress throughout the topics covered in the first edition and in the extension to many new domains. Through the efforts of the authors of this new edition, we have tried to capture these developments and to provide an accurate, detailed view of the current field. One way of picturing the advances or defining the “structural” change is relatively straightforward; namely, the number of experimental macromolecular structures has doubled since the first edition of this book was published. The Protein Structure Initiative has also led to an increase in the number of novel structures and folds. Overall, the continued growth in experimental structures has created an even richer data source for much of the work described herein. But numbers do not tell the whole story. The complexity of structures, the methods used, the ways structure is represented, our ability to model structures, our understanding of proteomes and their structural coverage, and so on, have also changed.

Describing the advances in “bioinformatics” per se is more difficult. Change in this case reflects both scientific advances and an increase in recognition within the biological sciences for the importance of computational methods. Due in part to the explosion in high-throughput experimental ...

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