The enormous quantities of data that modern biology has acquired about the structure and function of biological systems demand novel technologies for the storage, administration and evaluation of these data. This is the task of bioinformatics in the narrow sense.

In the broader sense, bioinformatics is the application of the methods of informatics to the information-carrying structures of living organisms. In this context bioinformatics occupies a central position in the analysis and comparison of the sequences of DNA and proteins – indeed, it has already afforded a major contribution to our understanding of the human genome and its forms of functional expression. Likewise, modern systems biology, which studies the interactions between the many thousands of molecular species in the living cell, derives essential support from bioinformatic methods. Thanks to its direct, practical applicability, bioinformatics is today an indispensable instrument for the efficient and useful exploitation of the discoveries in molecular biology.

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