BIOT 101 Lecture Handout 2
Over the past few decades, major advances in the field of molecular biology, coupled with
advances in genomic technologies, have led to an explosive growth in the amount of biological
information generated by the scientific community. This deluge of genomic information has, in
turn, led to a need for computerized databases to store, organize, and index the data and for
specialized programs which allow for the visualization and analysis of these data.
are large, organized bodies of persistent data
related to the
biological sciences, usually associated with computerized software designed to update,
query, and retrieve components of the data stored within the system. Simple databases
contain records, each of which includes the same set of information. For example, a
record associated with a nucleotide sequence database typically contains information
such as contact name, the input sequence with a description of the type of molecule,
the scientific name of the source organism from which it was isolated, and often,
literature citations associated with the sequence.
For researchers to benefit from the stored data, two requirements must be met:
Information must be easy to access.
A method must exist that allows researchers to extract only that information
needed to answer a specific biological question.
is the field of science in which biology, computer science, and information
technology merge to form a single discipline. Through the application of bioinformatics, many
databases have been designed to store nucleic acid sequences, protein sequences,
chromosome map information, taxonomic information and more.