Bioinformatics and the Ticking Clock

A companion post to yesterday's link to GrailSearch expands on the challenge facing biogerontologists - and medical science in general for that matter: "In cellular immunology, for instance, there are about 100 billion peptide sequences to which the immune system can respond, each targeted by a small set of white blood cells, or T lymphocytes - as many types of T cells in one human being as there are stars in our Galaxy. Just a 100 billion eh? These insane types of numbers constantly whack us up-and-coming bioinformaticians in the head like the proverbial cartoon rake-to-forehead smackaroo. You get to the point that you simply shrug your shoulders, tell yourself there will be an indexed database for that dataset someday, and move on. But will there be a comprehensive set of biological databases in our lifetime? ... To really do this requires this being a primary research goal whereas most research efforts are simply focused on one very small task at hand with a limited research budget. The result is thousands of nonstandard databases and datasets being published all over the net with nobody really synthesizing the data. Our thinking needs to change in our approach to informatics and biology otherwise we'll keep doing the same work over and over. From an aging perspective, we just don't have time to let comprehensive aging models evolve from basic research as the data emerges."


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