Definition of Bioinformatics
Bioinformatics is a discipline of science and engineering that analyses, seeks understanding and models the whole life as an information processing phoenomenon utilizing energy with methods from philosophy, mathematics and computer science using biological experimental data. -Jong Bhak
See BiO center's bioinformatics site: Bioinformatics.ws
Short definition of bioinformatics
"Biology is bioinformatics and bioinformatics, biology.."
Three main aspects:
There are three main aspects need to be addressed in the above definition.
The first is that it is a very systematic way of dealing with biological data. Therefore, constructing an infrastructure such as large scale database and server systems for genomes and proteomes is an important part of it.
The second is that it views the processes and mechanisms of life as information processing. For example, it puts a weight on how the regulation can be modelled and generalized as well as how a specific four gene transcription systems works in a bacterium.
The third aspect is that it is multi-disciplinary employing experimental biology, theoretical science and computers. Every science field uses experiments, theories and computers. Bioinformatics is multidisciplinary: However, bioinformatics requires a very tight integration of these as a one single subject. In other words, an ideal bioinformatist should be able to understand what the Hidden Markov Model, Monte Carlo method, relational database system, object oriented programming language and a cluster of Linux operating systems as well as TCA cycle, PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and transcription elongation factors. Obviously no one can master all the interdisciplinary skills but the bioinformatics field as a whole can encompass them. Six fields of Bioinformatics: Perhaps the best way of feeling bioinformatics as an integrated discipline is to look at all the major parts of it.
There are different schemes to divide bioinformatics.
One way is using the information flow in cells. In this scheme, you can divide them into:
1) Genomics (DNA oriented)
2) Transriptomics (RNA oriented)
3) Proteomics (Protein oriented)
4) Metabolomics (biological pathways oriented)
5) Physiomics (disease and physiological level of study)
6) Medical informatics.
The various –omics fields in biology are under the broad term of bioinformatics.
They all aim to understand molecules as networks. The essence of such omics study lines in networks and the interactions of nodes within the networks.
Therefore, genomics is not just collecting all the information of genes but studying their relationships, controls, and emergent properties.
Five domains of Bioinformatics: Another scheme is on how we represent the data. Large-scale biological data can be represented in different forms for different computation and analysis.
The common ones are: