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Re: Where to learn about Bioinformatics?

by chdevers (Initiate)
on Dec 13, 2001 at 22:23 UTC ( #131687=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Where to learn about Bioinformatics?

_Beginning Perl for Bioinformatics_ is okay, butt it's really aimed at people who know nothing about one or more of (a) Perl, (b) programming, (c) computers, or (d, distantly) biology.

I think the author realized that at least some of these are not going to be completely alien to much of his audience, so he does a pretty good job at balancing the introduction of basic concepts on one hand and the need not to condescend to more experienced developers on the other. It's a fine line, and he mostly pulls it off well, but that doesn't change the fact that it's still an introductory Perl book, albeit one where the sample code is more relevant to this field.

Honestly, it seems like a lot of bioinformatics (and cheminformatics) is primarily statistical analysis, so you might be able to get as much mileage by boning up on a good statistics &/or algorithms textbook, in addition to more obvious bio & chem materials.

Obviously it would help a lot to understand the underlying biology and chemistry, but the core of what you're doing is going to revolve around finding statistically relevant patterns out of huge datasets, and while the biologists and organic chemists you end up working this will know their science well, they won't necessarily know the algorithms involved -- that's what you as a bioinformaticist (or whatever the term ends up being) bring to the effort.

Good luck with it... :)


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