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Module III: An Overview of Bioinformatics



An Overview of Module III: Bioinformatics
Bioinformatics is an amalgamation of two major disciplines of science; the Biological and Computer sciences which includes developing databases to store and catalogue information, tools and algorithms to analyze and evaluate this information, and the designing softwares that can apply statistical techniques and theories to solve problems such as protein structure prediction, in silico.  The need for Bioinformatics was realized when Human Genome Project was initiated, which aimed to sequence the entire human genome. Since then, it has grown to encompass proteomics, transcriptomics, molecular modeling and several other disciplines in its fold. Today, bioinformatics has become indispensible to biological scientists. One can no longer think of cataloguing a gene or protein sequence manually. Its automation and swift actions envisages a great deal of precision and has made the work simpler. Some of its applications include sequence prediction and alignment, phylogenetic analysis, homology modeling, high-throughput analysis and systems biology. Many universities, government institutions and pharmaceutical companies have come forward to form bioinformatics groups to carry out research pertaining to computational biology aspects to develop better algorithms and improvise the existing processes.
Proteomics is the study of the entire protein compliment of a cell, tissue or an organism at a particular time or given conditions of stress. It involves the study of individual proteins, protein-protein interactions, active site prediction and functional proteomics. Studying the protein compliment of the cell is much more complex as compared to its genomics as the genome more or less remains constant but their expression changes every moment depending upon the stress and the requirements of the cell and the surroundings. Thus, it generates large amounts of data pertaining to protein structures, properties, functions, active sites, 3D conformations, etc, which is impossible to be maintained manually and retrieval also becomes tedious and time consuming. Bioinformatics makes it easier to come up with new algorithms to handle the large and heterogeneous datasets involved in these studies and also works to constantly improvise the algorithms involved.
Various algorithms have been developed to analyze protein structure and function, active site residues, identify interacting ligands, proteolytic and glycosalation sites, etc. Various algorithms for image analysis of 2D gels, analyzing the expression profile of proteins have also been developed. 
In order to clearly understand each experiment and make best use of the contents provided, we suggest you to proceed as per the following steps. 
  1. Initially start with the theory section, recall technical knowledge over each step, go through the manual and define an overall design, workflow, to conduct a bioinformatic analysis.
  2. In protocol section learn the minute integrity required to perform the experiment by going through the standardized protocol defined for each of the steps.
  3. Practice; operate through each step of the experiment in simulator section to visualize the entire process.
  4. Go through the video files to get real lab experiences of performing experiments.
  5. In the download sections, course contents are provided for the users to export files, for analyses and in case to perform assignments.  
  6.  Now, user should be sufficiently equipped to face a Quiz for assessment. So answer the questions provided in the quiz and complete the assignment. (Go back to any modules that require better understanding based on your performance!)
  7. Students are strongly advised to go through the references provided in the “Reference” section to further advance their knowledge.
  8. Finally provide your feedback on the overall contents which may help us to improve the quality of this e-Learning platform.

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