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Importance and Applications of Bioinformatics in Molecular MedicineBY: Amna Adnan | Category: Bioinformatics | Submitted: 2010-07-05 21:12:51
Although scientists mapped the genomes of various organisms in the laboratories but it was the greatest challenge for them how to store or compile that huge biological data. For this purpose computers had to be used in the research field as there was no other way for the storing of the data. Bioinformatics provided this opportunity to the researchers to store the data in the form of databases on computers. The whole work of DNA sequencing, its observation, analysis and interpretation, all was the work of computers and it could not be done manually.
If the data is present in the raw form and is not compiled then even the professional researchers cannot use it. Bioinformatics has enabled scientists to make biological tools which extract this information from the databases and can be used for the research purpose. Bioinformatics tools can be used for three purposes.
1) Protein sequence can be determined by DNA sequencing.
2) If protein structure has to be determined then knowledge of protein sequencing is required.
3) A protein structure enables the determination of protein function.
If there is complete knowledge of these three steps then it is easy to understand that what the biology of an organism is.
It is easy to store the raw biological data in the form of databases in the computers but the real challenge for researchers is how to extract the required information from the mass of data. For this purpose bioinformatics tools play an important role as they are used to extract the information from the databases and analyze it. When the bioinformatics tools are designed, it should be kept in mind that the biologist must not feel difficulty in using these tools as he is not much aware of the computers and these tools should be available on the internet.
Applications in Molecular Medicine:-
The complete sequencing of the human genome has enabled to improve the biological research and clinical medicine. Scientists can find cures against diseases either hereditary (cystic fibrosis and Huntington's diseases) or acquired (cancer or heart disease). Due to the complete knowledge of human genome, it is quite possible to view or analyze only those genes which are directly related with the disease. It is now easy to observe the molecular basis of each disease. This whole step will enable the pharmaceutical industry to design drugs which will only target those genes which are diseased.
The drugs which are present in the market can target only 500 gene products or proteins but the mapping of complete human genome has enabled to use the computational tools and more drug targets and medicines which could only interact with those proteins whose expression is diseased without any or little side effects.
Pharmacogenomics, a branch of bioinformatics, has enabled to develop more effective clinical medicines. Though there are some advanced drugs in the market but they have failed due to their adverse effects in patients because of the difference of DNA sequences in different patients. Today, as Pharmacogenomics is making advances in the science world, doctors should use drugs on the trial and error basis because sometimes patients showing same symptoms of a particular disease show different results against the particular drug. It is because their DNA sequences are different. In the future it will be possible for the scientist to prescribe drugs after observing the genetic profile of an individual.
If the genetic mechanism of a disease is known then it might be easy for the doctors to take diagnostics tests more accurately. There are chances that in the near future it will be possible to use genes instead of medicines to cure particular disease. Gene therapy is one of the techniques which provide this opportunity. In the future it will be possible to cure or treat the disease by changing the expression of diseased protein. Though this technique is still in the experimental stages but there are bright chances that in the near future it will be a recognized technique.
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