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Review

Rise and Demise of Bioinformatics? Promise and Progress

  • Christos A. Ouzounis mail

    ouzounis@certh.gr

    Affiliations: Institute of Agrobiotechnology, Centre for Research & Technology Hellas (CERTH), Thessaloniki, Greece, Donnelly Centre for Cellular & Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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This is about Google and the Internet as much as bioinformatics

Posted by djstates on 28 Apr 2012 at 13:34 GMT

The data cited in this article are taken from the Google Trends website. If you look at Google trends for "Science", "Biology" and "Informatics", all show declines of two fold or more in the Search Index over the past decade. Interestingly, all of these topics, including "Bioinformatics", show an increase in the number of news citations over the same period. Note that the Google Search Index is scaled and normalized (1). The decline Google Search Index for these topics appears to say more about increasing use of Internet search for other purposes than it does about declining interest in science in general or bioinformatics in particular.

In fact, interest in bioinformatics is at an all time high. Cancer genomics is generating vast quantities of exciting new data and innovative new bioinformatics will be required to understand and utilize these data. Computational modeling has a well established role in drug discovery and drug design. System biology approaches are increasingly important across the biological and biomedical sciences.

One trend of note is the declining use of Perl relative to other rapid development languages such as Python and Ruby (2). Perl is widely associated with bioinformatics (3), but it is worth ensuring that students learn other languages to keep current with new developments in software technology.

Finally, it must be noted that many of us were engaged in computational biology in the 1970s and 1980s, well before the "Infancy" of bioinformatics cited in this article. Theoretical biology was an active field much earlier than this. The term "bioinformatics" did not come into wide use until the Human Genome Project in the 1980s, but the field began much earlier.

David J. States MD PhD FACMI
Chief Scientific Officer
OncProTech LLC

[1] http://www.google.com/int...
[2] http://http://www.google....
[3] http://http://www.bioperl...

No competing interests declared.