Bioinformatics or computational biology is the use of information technology in the field of molecular biology, or the application of computer technology to the management and analysis of biological data. Here computers are used to gather, store, analyze and merge biological data.
It is an emerging interdisciplinary research area and is increasingly being used to improve the quality of life. The ultimate goal of bioinformatics is to uncover the wealth of biological information hidden in the mass of sequence, structure, literature and other biological data and obtain a clearer insight into the fundamental biology of organisms and to use this information to enhance the standard of life for mankind.
It's importance is unlimited in the genomic era (genome is the complex molecular chains that constitute each organism’s unique genetic heritage). The hereditary information of an organism is encoded in the DNA. Genomics, the study of an organisms entire genome is developed to understand the basic molecule of life which is known as the code of life. DNA directly controls the biological makeup of humans or any living organism. Studying the structure of DNA has made amazing success over many genetically transferring diseases. It is variations and errors in the genomic DNA which ultimately define the likelihood of developing diseases or resistance to the same disorders.
Bioinformatics could have profound impact in fields as varied as human health, agriculture, the environment, energy and biotechnology to advance biomedical research and development. It is being used now in the areas of molecular medicine to help produce better and more customized medicines to prevent or cure diseases, it has environmental benefits in identifying waste cleanup bacteria and in agriculture it can be used for producing high yield low maintenance crops. These are just a few of the many benefits bioinformatics can offer.
The career prospects in the field has been steadily increasing with more and more use of information technology in the field of molecular biology. Job prospects are in all sectors of biotechnology, pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences, in research institutions, hospital and industry. Some of the specific career areas that fall within the scope of bioinformatics include Sequence assembly, Database design and maintenance, Sequence analysis, Proteomics (the study of protein, particularly their structures and functions), Pharmacogenomics, Pharma-cology, Clinical pharmacologist, Informatics developer, Computational chemist, Bio-analytics and Analytics etc.