Thursday, December 1, 2022

Bioinformatics and Its Role in Facilitating Gene Therapy

There are tons of medical specialties out there. However, one area has been making waves due to its revolutionary stance — bioinformatics. This scientific field gives researchers the luxury of seamlessly identifying, evaluating, storing, and retrieving vital medical information.

As its name suggests, bioinformatics consolidates varying aspects of biology, statistics, and computer science. These facets converge to curate applications crucial in getting an in-depth understanding of biological data bits, including:

  • Protein analysis
  • DNA sequences
  • Microbial genome applications
  • Waste cleanup
  • Evolution genetics

The list is endless.

In this article, we’ll dive into the bioinformatics applications and see why its usage leads the pack in most research endeavors, addgene AAV purification inclusive.

Ready to know more? Let’s dive in. 

What Is Bioinformatics?

Bioinformatics is a biological study that combines biology and IT (Information Technology). 

So, what does bioinformatics focus on?

This interdisciplinary research branch focuses on accurately analyzing biological data and creating new software forms using this information. 

Bioinformatics can be traced back to the Netherlands. In 1960, two Dutch biologists, Pauline Hogeweg and Ben Hesper, created the concept “bioinformatics.” Their research and discoveries led to bioinformatics being defined as studying informatic procedures in biotic structures.

Medical Applications of Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics has become vital in medicine. For context, the complete sequencing of human genomes has led to the creation of genetic data vital in treating diverse diseases. 

In medicine, bioinformatics has become relevant in the following areas:

  • Drug Discovery

Easily transmissible diseases rank amongst the leading causes of death in old and young individuals. According to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report, over 13 million deaths annually are caused by infectious illnesses. 

With underdeveloped and developing countries contributing to this statistic, drugs have become scarce. The few available are expensive and unaffordable for those depending on the minimum wage. 

However, thanks to bioinformatics, cheaper treatment modes or medications are making their way to the market. 

Although it’s easy to think that these drugs aren’t as effective as portrayed, pharmaceutical companies manufacturing these medications have deviated from the traditional “trial and error” process. 

With bioinformatics in the thick of things, these entities have developed a streamlined procedure that’s efficient and cost-effective. 

  • Personalized Medicine

As its name suggests, personalized medicine is a healthcare variation that deals with creating treatment alternatives according to a person’s unique genetic make-up. 

This medicine form is mostly used for patients with life-threatening diseases like HIV, diabetes, and cancer.

Bioinformatics has proven effective in personalized medicine by analyzing data obtained from genome sequencing or the AAV expression system. These studies look closely at a person’s genetics and how they’ll react to a peculiar treatment mode. 

If reactions are negative, modifications are made accordingly. 

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  • Preventive Medicine

Preventive medicine is the exact opposite of personalized medicine. Rather than dealing with an individual, this healthcare format curates solutions for communities and specific classes. 

Preventive medicine combines biostatistics, epidemiology, and bioinformatics to analyze the root cause of illnesses and propose treatment alternatives effective in preventing disability, sickness, and death. 

A typical example of preventive medicine involves screening newborns to detect disorders, including metabolic and genetic illnesses, that are treatable but not easily determined in an infant. 

To develop screening techniques to spot these anomalies in babies, researchers resort to bioinformatics to ascertain metabolomics, genomics, and proteomics data to seek out disease-causing biomarkers. 

Bioinformatics and Gene Therapy: A Match Made in Heaven?

Gene therapy has been around for a while. This biological process involves replacing defective genes with newer, stronger variations. 

Despite its fame, gene therapy isn’t a common medical technique as it’s challenging to create an artificial gene therapy alternative due to the distinctions embedded in people’s genetic sequences. 

However, with bioinformatics in the picture, this seeming complexity becomes non-existent. 

Quickly, let’s get some context.

Identifying the ideal gene replacement site is feasible with bioinformatics in the mix. The individual’s genetic sequence is analyzed thoroughly to avoid complications after treatment. 

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Bioinformatics Tools to Note in 2022

We’ve examined bioinformatics, its role in medicine, and its involvement in gene therapy via addgene AAV serotypes. Although we focused on the medical usage of bioinformatics, we note that this discipline applies to multiple contexts, including veterinary sciences, agriculture, and forensics. 

With bioinformatics’ diversity, some select tools come in handy to achieve seamless application. Notable mentions include:

  • geWorkbench
  • BLAST
  • BioPerl
  • InterMine
  • Biojava Bioinformatics Tool (Linux)
  • Integrative Genomics Viewer (IGV) Sequencing Tool
  • GROMACS
  • Clustal Omega
  • Taverna Workbench

NOTE: Most highlighted tools are free and incorporate addgene AAV guides.

Major Takeaway

Bioinformatics is a broad scientific discipline, and so are its solutions. Used in numerous contexts, bioinformatics has yielded many positives in medicine, agriculture, genome sequencing, and lots more. It’s also a lucrative career alternative for those with a BSc in biotechnology and bioinformatics.