Ok, finding answers to questions is an interesting thing, you seem to be approaching Perl from a bioinformatics perspective, Perl has applications in other areas too like you mentioned. Depending on the eyes of the beholder, we have monks in the Monastery from all walks of sciences and arts, the use Perl or are passionate about the language, Read What's it with Perl Syntax ? and Perl and Bioinformatics, a Super Search can also direct you to different discussions falling in this category..
in reply to New to perl
When it comes to Bioinformatics, not only do BioPerl lend strength to Perl, but various components/ features of the Perl language come to the spotlight, you have PDL (Perl Data Language) and you have mathematics geared modules that can be used as well... So there are many hidden strengths out there...
Excellence is an Endeavor of Persistence.
A Year-Old Monk :D .