Biological databases in the genomic era
Robert-Cedergren Centre (Centre de recherche en génomique et bioinformatique)
Presented at the Symposium “La bioinformatique, du fundamental au appliqué”.
Recent large-scale DNA sequencing projects
worldwide are aiming at the exploration of the diversity of life in a
systematic and comprehensive way. Among the projects ongoing in
Obviously, the role of bioinformatics in this kind of endeavor is pivotal. The major challenges include:
· Formalization of the data by a model that captures their essential features and the majority of instances of the relevant biological phenomena;
· Organization of the data in a fashion easy to update, maintain and expand;
· Powerful data consistency checking and validation capabilities;
· Intuitive data representation and efficient retrieval.
Integrated biological databases such as the ones mentioned above provide us with a novel, global view of the massive diversity of data in life science. Such databases are bioinformatics tools in excelsis in that they constitute a unique resource for scientists to delve into most complex fundamental biological questions, such as the origin of cellular life and exchange of genetic material across domain boundaries.