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Before trying to comment on how, if at all, can bioinformatics skills help us do better biotechnology, let me first try to explain the two terms – ‘bioinformatics’ and ‘biotechnology’. Biotechnology, as the name suggests, is the field of science that uses engineering technologies to manipulate living organisms and biological systems in order to progress in various fields of medicine, food, agriculture etc. The recently developed gene therapy or the stem cell technology is an example of advancement in the field of biotechnology. Bioinformatics combines computer science, mathematics, analytics, statistics and engineering science to process and analyses biological and chemical data. This field requires great programming skills, database knowledge, understanding of statistics and other mathematical models etc. The understanding of genetics and molecular biology is also a mandate for bioinformatics. Bioinformatics is the combination of biotechnology and information technology. In simple language, it is the application of information technology at a molecular level.  

Today, man has made great advancement in the fields of science and medicine. By combining medical science with engineering, heart operations can be performed by making a small incision and injecting micro robots in the human artilleries. Incurable hereditary diseases and fatal cancer can be treated with the help of gene therapy. As our scientists study more and have a better understanding of human anatomy, they are trying to work at a molecular level to produce better medicines, crops with more yield capacity and plants able to withstand harsher conditions. All this has become possible because of the ability of man to understand the molecular structure of organisms through biotechnology and the capability given by bioinformatics to gather and analyze molecular level data and be able to manipulate it using the techniques of bioengineering. Hence, we can say that these fields - biotechnology and bioinformatics are interdependent.  

If biotechnology shows us the way to understand and gather data at molecular level, bioinformatics provides us the ability to observe, analyze and make informed predictions of this gathered data. In gene therapy, biotechnology uses the elaborate study of genomes and DNA sequence to find out where exactly the fault lies in the host cell and how exactly can it be cured. Bioinformatics provides the means to sequence and annotate the genomes and their mutations. There is a tremendous amount of data generated when it comes to engineering at a molecular level. Bioinformatics helps in text mining and organization of this vast amount of data. It also aids in the analyzation of the data and in the simulation and modelling of DNA so as to have a better understanding of molecular interactions. With bioinformatics, we can map and analyze the DNA and protein sequences, compare them to find the position of a mutated gene and also create as well as view 3D models of the protein structures.  

Thus, we can say that bioinformatics skills definitely help in understanding and achieving better results when working in the field of biotechnology.  With biotechnology, we can observe, record and save a large amount of data. Bioinformatics enables us to arrange the data and analyze it to reach an informed conclusion. The main purpose of bioinformatics is to increase the understanding of the molecular level data and the biological processes. It includes understanding of databases, development of algorithms, computational and statistical techniques to solve the questions arising in biotechnology and to help scientists make some interpretation based on the data gathered.  In simple words, if biotechnology is like the employee database of an organization, bioinformatics is the excel sheet that is used to maintain that database and with the help of which we can query the database as per our needs. Hence, to conclude, the knowledge of bioinformatics will definitely help to work better with biotechnology.
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