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How Bioinformatics Handles the Biological Data?

BY: Amna Adnan | Category: Bioinformatics | Submitted: 2010-07-06 20:22:58
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Article Summary: "Bioinformatics provides the researchers to store all the biological information in the form of databases. The data can be analyzed and integrated by using the database. An efficient database is the one which provides efficient analysis of data..."


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Bioinformatics is the science of handling the biological data computationally, mathematically and statistically. The positive point about this field is that it stores the data in the form of databases. Biological tools are used to extract all the data from these databases. If the field of bioinformatics was not developed then the biological information would have been in the raw form and it would have been difficult for the researchers to extract the information which they need, but bioinformatics has provided the facility of storing the data. There are five steps in which bioinformatics handles the raw biological data.

Data Acquisition:-
Data acquisition is concerned with the storage of the data which is produced from the laboratory instruments and can be accessed by the people working in the laboratory. These instruments are of two types, that is, automated or semi automated. They are helpful in generating large amounts of the data. For example when the human genome was sequenced, DNA sequencers were used which produced huge amount of biological data. The challenge for the storage of the data was that it had to be stored in an appropriate format so that the other DNA samples could also relate to it. DNA samples mean the tissue types and species used in the experiments. In this way, a particular laboratory can use the information using the laboratory information management systems.

Development of Database:-
Some types of the data produced in the laboratories are in the form of DNA sequences, three dimensional structures of molecules and gene expression. As this type of data is of very high quality and is useful for various purposes, that is why it should be stored in effective databases so that information can easily be accessed whenever needed. It would be more appropriate if for each type, a different database is created because it would be easy to extract the required information. Good database is the one which provides efficient storage of the data, makes search easy and which does efficient analysis of the data.

If the database would be of high quality and will have complicated functions then it would be difficult for the researcher to extract the required information. Therefore, the building of databases should be in relational database architecture, Sybase or oracle. In the database development the individual must have the knowledge of relational databases. To extract the data from a database, it is necessary that molecular biology techniques should be known. There should be a strong working relationship between the bioinformatician who is developing the database and the researcher who is using it so that the development of a database can be more efficient and appropriate.

Analysis of the Data:-
If the analysis of data is concerned, then it is necessary that the database designing should be easy and efficient so that the researchers can obtain the required information of the data and analyze it. If there is not efficient designing of the database then it would be difficult for the researchers to extract and analyze the data. When the data is extracted from the database, it is transformed into the appropriate analysis tools which make analysis easy.

Bioinformatics provides wide range of opportunities for the analysis of the data by creating computer programs and algorithms. The analysts in bioinformatics help either provide easy to handle tools to the researchers or they help them understand that how the data is extracted from a database and is analyzed with a tool.

Integration of the Data:-

When the analysis of the data is complete then the next step is the integration of the data. In this step, the data is associated and integrated with the other data extracted from another database. For example, if a scientist performs experiments of gene expression on 100 genes, he will see that the genes showed their expression in the cancerous lung tissue than the normal lung tissue. Now he will observe that which particular gene is actually associated with the disease. For this purpose, the researcher will find the information about those genes and will see their DNA sequence, protein, metabolic pathway, enzyme, disease or signal data. This way he will be able to analyze the genes more clearly and will be able to separate those genes which are showing their expression towards the disease. To do all this research, it is necessary that there should be link between different databases so that the information can be compared efficiently. If there is a good knowledge of biological data and the database architecture then it would be easy for the researcher to do data integration.

Analysis of Integrated Data:-
When the data is integrated fully then the next and final step is to present the data in an efficient way so that it can be analyzed. All the information of the data should be reliable and can be used in other experiments also. It all depends on the design and architecture of the database. If the database is designed efficiently it would be easy to do all the steps.

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