Patrick Cox

Bioinformatics is a truly transformational emerging discipline.

The sequencing of the human genome has resulted in the emergence of an enormously important new branch in the biotechnological sciences. The most common terms for this field are ‘bioinformatics’ or ‘computational biology.’

Until recently, cell biology has been something of a ‘black box.’ We could observe how cells functioned, but had little insight into the actual mechanisms. Now, though, scientists are learning how cells work on the molecular level. Using mathematical models and new technologies for detecting molecular processes, researchers are extracting raw data from DNA and modeling the ways genes work and interact…

The process of unraveling and decoding the DNA software involves massive amounts of data collection. Then, once collected, correlation and other forms of computer analysis are performed on those data to figure out cause and effect. How big is this challenge?

Consider this: Each human cell contains about 3 gigabytes (3 billion bytes) of pure data and instructions. If this information were written in book form, it would require 5,000 volumes, each 300 pages long. That’s 120 times larger than the kernel of the Windows operating system, which is about 25 megabytes of code. This data resides, of course, in each cell’s pinpoint-sized nucleus.

The decoding of all these systems is a huge computational challenge. It has only just begun and it would not be possible, in fact, without recent advances in computer technologies. As more powerful computing comes online, the pace of bioinformatics discovery will accelerate. Quantum computing, because it is particularly suited to sorting out cell biology, will enable a ‘quantum’ leap in understanding.

Patrick Cox

Patrick Cox has lived deep inside the world of transformative technologies for over 25 years. This expertise lead him to Mauldin Economics, where he now heads Transformational Technology Alert.

  • tony bonn

    it is for evidence such as this that i will never in a billion years believe in evolution whether of the random or non-random variety….

  • Dean

    Ok, so how do we make money from it?

  • Bruce Williams

    I am a CS student and my roommates at Cal-Tech are getting their doctorates working with bioinformatics. What I am interested in is the ability of ANYONE to use cloud computing such as Amazon to make worthwhile discoveries, without laboratories or capitol. Not only is the game changing, but who plays and how it is played.

  • Jean Harris

    I’m a life scientist. Though I’ve seen it often, I can still hardly believe the ignorance people like Tony Bonn.

    You might try starting with cellular automata, Tony. You can read up on it in Stephan Wolfram’s book A New Kind of Science. Go for the patterns in sea shells if nothing else. Also think of colds and the flu, an example of evolution everybody should be able to understand.

    Jean Harris

  • Dr Maddy

    Both Jean Harris and Tony Bonn are dogmatic.

    If evolutionary processes were explicably true then we shud be able to replicate them starting with simple molecules and by just accelerating the process.
    No evidence suggests this so far even minutely.
    Jean Harris needs to be more skeptical of scientific research before accepting something
    Just my view folks!

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