Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Bioinformaticists Will Be Busy Bees


At a bioinformatics conference last fall, EBI’s Ewan Birney, MIT’s Chris Burge, and GlaxoSmithKline’s Jim Fickett gave an impromptu roundup of the future challenges of the field. Burge polished them up for GT:

Top 10 Future Challenges


1 Precise, predictive model of transcription initiation and termination: ability to predict where and when transcription will occur in a genome

2 Precise, predictive model of RNA splicing/alternative splicing: ability to predict the splicing pattern of any primary transcript in any tissue

3 Precise, quantitative models of signal transduction pathways: ability to predict cellular responses to external stimuli

4 Determining effective protein:DNA, protein:RNA and protein:protein recognition codes

5 Accurate ab initio protein structure prediction

6 Rational design of small molecule inhibitors of proteins

7 Mechanistic understanding of protein evolution: understanding exactly how new protein functions evolve

8 Mechanistic understanding of speciation: molecular details of how speciation occurs

9 Continued development of effective gene ontologies — systematic ways to describe the functions of any gene or protein

10 Education: development of appropriate bioinformatics curricula for secondary, undergraduate, and graduate education

The Scan

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.

Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.