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•  Databases allow scientists easy access to information

•  The body of data stored in databases is increasing exponentially

Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that uses computer science to sort, store and understand biological data

  • This information is stored in databases, which use algorithms to collate relevant data for interpretation and analysis

The body of available data stored in databases is increasing exponentially as a result of:

  • Advancements in sequencing protocols (promotes faster data collection) 
  • Development of new software tools (results in easier access to data – which promotes collaboration)
  • A rapid increase in the number of labs undertaking associated research 

Examples of databases used to collect and collect relevant biological information include:

  • Genbank – Genetic sequence database
  • RCSB – Protein database
  • EBI – Molecular biology database (genes, proteins and chemicals)

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•  Explore chromosome 21 in databases (for example in Ensembl)

Chromosome 21 is the smallest human chromosome, with roughly 48 million base pairs

  • It was the second chromosome to be completely sequenced as part of the Human Genome Project
  • Chromosome 21 is predicted to contain roughly 400 – 600 genes (number varies according to predictive measure used)

Information regarding the structure and approximate sequence of chromosome 21 is stored in bioinformatic databases

  • This information is commonly conveyed as an ideogram (a graphical representation of chromosomal content)

Chromosome 21 can be explored in a number of different databases, including NCBI and Ensembl

Ideogram of Chromosome 21

chromosome 21