Tag Archives: education

Exploring Bioinformatics: A Project-Based Approach by Caroline St. Clair and Jonathan Visick

Exploring Bioinformatics: A Project-Based Approach by Caroline St. Clair and Jonathan Visick is the first bioinformatics book I studied.

expbioinfAt the time, I was very new to the field of bioinformatics (being proficient at some computer programming and knowledgeable in biology) and found the book to be relatively easy to understand. The book is aimed primarily towards undergraduate students at an introductory level of bioinformatics but due to its simplicity, I would recommend it for self-taught undergraduates, autodidacts, or high schoolers who are interested in pursing studies in bioinformatics.

The book is divided into chapters of main topics and techniques necessary in computational genetics and bioinformatics. Each chapter has do-it-yourself type problems utilizing the basic bioinformatics algorithms and programs which are explained within the chapter. At the end of the book is a glossary of important bioinformatics jargon that all bioinformatics enthusiasts must familiarize themselves with.

One of the downsides of this book is that it is written in Perl, albeit Perl being one of the main languages of bioinformatics. If the reader is not familiar with Perl or another computing language, there is an index in the back with the basic computing commands as well as a tutorial near the end of the book on basic Perl programming.

Currently, I have not been successful in locating a free PDF version of the book, so if you are interested in buying it, I would recommend a used copy from Amazon. However, due to its cost, I would recommend bioinformatics enthusiasts to use the Rosalind website (see more here).

External Sites

biology.jbpub.com/bioinformatics/ is the book’s official website with instructor/student resources and solutions.


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Filed under Bioinformatics, Journals and Publications, Research

Learn Bioinformatics: Rosalind

Rosalind (named after Rosalind Franklin, the scientist whose work established the structure of DNA) is an education site aimed to freely teach anyone bioinformatics.

The language Rosalind uses is Python and may be a setback for those without programming experience as it assumes the user is acquainted with Python. However, anyone experienced in other computing languages such as Java can pick up Python with relative ease. For those who would like to learn Python, there are many online tutorials.

In addition to teaching bioinformatics, the website also has instructional problems on computational algorithms and understanding bioinformatics website such as GenBank.

Although the primary language of the website is Python, I like to practice my other computing languages — particularly Java and Perl.

External Links
rosalind.info is the official Rosalind website
python.org is the official Python site
learnpython.org is an online tutorial to learning python (does not require prior programming experience)

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Filed under Bioinformatics