According to the origin of its name, Bioinformatics consists of “Bio” and “Informatics”, which means Bioinformatics is a combination of Biology and Technical Information. In general, Bioinformatics is defined as the application of computational and analytical tools to capture and interpret biological data.
In science, world Bioinformatics falls under the “young science” category, which means this science is a new science that covers various disciplines including computer science, mathematics and physics, biology, and medical science. where all of which support and benefit one another.
Bioinformatics was born on the initiative of computer scientists based on artificial intelligence. They think that all the phenomena that exist in nature can be created artificially through the simulation of its symptoms.
Bioinformatics is important for data management from the biology world and modern medicine. The main tool for Bioinformatics is a software program that is supported by the availability of the internet. Currently, the development of biological sciences is greatly influenced by the development of bioinformatics. It is undeniable that bioinformatics has accelerated the progress of biological science. Furthermore, when viewed from a more specific field of science, the progress, is greatly influenced by advances in bioinformatics. The more advanced bioinformatics in some field of science (indicated by the number of software available), the more advanced the field is.
Bioinformatics in Medical Science :
Bioinformatics in the clinical field
The role of Bioinformatics in the clinical field is often referred to as clinical informatics. The application of clinical informatics is in the form of management of clinical data from patients through the Electrical Medical Record (EMR) developed by Clement J. McDonald of Indiana University School of Medicine in 1972. McDonald first applied EMR to 33 patients with diabetes. Now EMR has been applied in various diseases. Stored data includes laboratory diagnostic analysis data, consultation results, and suggestions, X-rays, heart rate measurements, etc. With this data, the doctor will be able to determine the appropriate treatment according to the condition of a particular patient. Furthermore, by reading the human genome, it will be possible to find out a person’s genetic disease, so that personal care for patients becomes more accurate.
Until now, it has been known that several genes play a role in certain diseases and their position on the chromosomes. This information is available and can be viewed on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) homepage in the Online Mendelian in Man (OMIM) section (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=OMIM). OMIM is a search tool for human genes and genetic diseases. Besides containing information about the location of the genes of some diseases, OMIM also provides information about the symptoms and treatment of the disease and its genetic characteristics. Thus, doctors who find patients carrying certain genetic diseases can study them in detail by accessing the OMIM home page.
As one example, if we want to see about breast cancer, we just need to enter the words “breast cancer” and after searching we will find out the various types of breast cancer. If we want to know more details about one of them, we just have to click on the type of breast cancer we want to know more and we’ll get detailed information about it and the position of the gene that causes it in the chromosome. Figure 3 is one of the results of searching for breast cancer.
Bioinformatics for drug or medicine discovery
Drug discovery efforts are usually carried out by finding substances/compounds that can suppress the proliferation of a disease-causing agent. Because many factors can influence the proliferation of the agent, these factors are the targets. Among these factors are the enzymes required for the proliferation of an agent. The first step is to analyze the structure and function of these enzymes. Then look for or synthesize substances/compounds that can suppress the function of these enzymes.
The discovery of an effective drug is the discovery of compounds that interact with amino acids that play a role in activity (active site) and for the stability of the enzyme.
Although using Bioinformatics it is possible to predict the compounds that interact and suppress the function of an enzyme, the results must be confirmed through experiments in the laboratory. However, with Bioinformatics, all these processes can be done quickly so that’s more efficient in terms of both times and financially.
Bioinformatics in Virology
Before the advancement of bioinformatics, to classify viruses we had to look at their morphology first. To see the morphology of viruses accurately, an electron microscope is usually used, which is so expensive that it cannot be owned by all laboratories. In addition, we must be able to isolate and get the virus itself.
Virus isolation is not an easy job. Many viruses cannot be cultured, let alone isolated. Hepatitis C virus (HCV), for example, until now no one has been able to culture it, so no one knows the morphological form of this virus. Likewise the hepatitis E virus (HEV) and the group of viruses that belong to the Calliciviridae family, where no culture system has yet been found. Although some viruses can be cultured, not all of them can be isolated easily. Therefore, before the development of bioinformatics, we could not identify and classify this kind of viruses.
With advances in DNA / RNA isolation techniques, sequencing techniques and supported by advances in bioinformatics, such problems mentioned above can be resolved. To identify and classify viruses, virus isolation is no longer an absolute matter. We just need to do the sequencing of the genes. This is one of the real results out of bioinformatics advances in the field of virology.