Informatics in Molecular Biology
There is growing recognition that advances in basic biological research and biotechnology are increasingly dependent upon the effective management of information using computer technology. The rapid changes in many aspects of both the science and the technology have led to a serious problem of providing for the bioinformatics needs of European scientists. This is nowhere more evident than in molecular biology where efforts to understand the relationship of biological function and macromolecular structure have generated relatively large databases and often require a multidisciplinary approach and the need for information from new and diverse sources. Recent initiatives to map and sequence a number of genomes will lead to considerable new biological understanding, but will only exacerbate these problems.
Meeting this challenge will require new approaches to organising and funding bioinformatics resources in Europe. Long-term infrastructural support is required to ensure that stable multidisciplinary expertise is focused on bioinformatics and is widely available. The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) is home to the EMBL Data Library, a key component of the international sequence database community, which is on the front-line facing these challenges. A European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) is planned which will address the expected growth in our own database management and distribution activities, provide consulting and training, encourage the development of new designs, tools and interfaces for relevant databases and computational resources, enhance the professional and cooperative nature of the bioinformatics community and represent European interests as a leader in the international arena.
Keywordsmolecular biology bioinformatics European infrastructure
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