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Chapter

Cover Introduction to Bioinformatics

Introduction  

This introductory chapter presents the major components of bioinformatics: DNA and protein sequences and structures, genomes and proteomes, databases and information retrieval, the World Wide Web, and computer programming. Before the advent of modern technologies and the internet, biological observations were fundamentally anecdotal and fragmentary. In recent generations, the data have become not only much more quantitative, but also more precise and comprehensive. Biological databases have recently supplemented the archives of nucleic acid sequences, amino acid sequences of proteins, and structures of proteins and protein–nucleic acid complexes. Given the data streams, analysis has become ever more challenging. Not only has bioinformatics developed powerful tools, but its methods are becoming more deeply integrated into the biomedical enterprise.

Chapter

Cover Biophysical Techniques

Computational biology  

Introduction Computational biology is the application of computational methods to all levels of exploration; molecules to ecosystems. This is huge area of research that can be subdivided in various ways. The computer is, of course, also an indispensible tool in every branch of biophysics discussed...

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Bioinformatics

Scientific publications and archives: media, content, access, and presentation  

This chapter assesses the trajectory of the development of the scientific literature, and how it has affected the practice of science. Classically, scientists presented their major results as full-length books. Today, in addition to journals, formats of scientific publication include presentations at meetings; books, or chapters contributed to books; material on the web, including blogs; films; radio or television programmes; podcasts; and social media such as Twitter. Indeed, the World Wide Web provides an alternative to paper as a mechanism of distribution of the scientific literature. The chapter then looks at the differences in accessibility and convenience between paper and computer access to scientific journals, as well as the differences between traditional and digital libraries. It also considers the explosion of scientific information; the principles of markup languages; the different types of computer languages; and the power and limitations of natural language processing by computer, and its applications in bioinformatics.