Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fun to see the future of Bioinfomatics but need more analysis to take over technology development.

It was not very long back when I went to India to visit my family for December break and had to go to see doctor for my back and shoulder pain. I went to a physiotherapist and seeing the intensity of pain he immediately advised me to get some tests done. Got MRI for Back, Brain and x-rays and what not but that was good since I will not have to take random pain killers and will get accurate diagnosis. Next, my doctor pulled up all my radiology images and report on screen and actually explained me the reports knowing that I was also kind of aware of those biological terms and obviously biological field. And as he flipped through images and talking, what I was thinking was the future of personal genomics and bioinformatics.

One day when $1000 genome will come and companies like 23andme flourish, doctors will not only pull up physiological images but genomes or any other genomic data to show me the root of disease. Or may be the altered biological networks, protein modifications and show me the action of drugs he is prescribing, targeting which pathway or cycle or any particular protein. Compare my genomic or protein sequence in question with normal and their interaction or participation in particular pathways. Not that but when a baby will born, besides getting immunizations they should get genomes sequenced for medical records. And only then, a normal man will understand the importance of Bioinformatics and what your genome means. People will know to which drug they are sensitive to and which not. They will know, if they are suffering from anything then which part of their biological network or pathway is messed up and how it is connected to others. That is what I understand is "sequencing in clinical applications". And also might explain to my parents what I'm studying, the hardest thing on earth to explain them. An electrical engineer and a house wife will know what a "gene" means and how does it look like or composed of.

Advance in sequencing technology immensely impressive in last few yeas. And now with the latest techniques in most talked and tweeted AGBT conference is mind-blowing.  I don't see this future very far. Nanopore technology looks really promising and will definitely revolutionize this field if comes to market late this year (and get successful). I think, Bioinformatics has indeed taken pace with respect to technology and now needs in analysis. I expect more and more companies emerging in not only technology development and produce data deluge, but also in their analysis for most wanted clinical applications. There is still a need to know what each of 2100 genes do in our genome, how epigenetics difffer in each of us and how is it a characteristic of only me!

P.S. I would have really not liked if my doctor had given me pills without showing me the proof (of whatever he had), why he was giving me them.

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