Sebastopol, CA--Bioinformatics is the rapidly evolving discipline of
using computational tools and techniques to find answers to biological
questions. With the advent of the Internet and World Wide Web,
biologists have access to vast amounts of biological data contained in
public databases such as GenBank (the Genetic Sequence Data Bank) and
the Protein Data Bank. As a consequence, computer-based tools now play
a critical role in biological research. Because of its capacity for
detecting patterns in data, Perl has become one of the most popular
programming languages for biological data analysis. In his new book,
"Beginning Perl for Bioinformatics" (O'Reilly, US $39.95), author James
Tisdall provides a practical introduction to Perl for biologists with
little or no programming experience, approaching programming as an
important new laboratory skill.
"Bioinformatics is an important component of a lot of modern biology research," says Tisdall. "Perl is the most popular computer language in bioinformatics because it is very easy to represent data like long DNA sequences or manipulate biological data like GenBank records or BLAST reports, and especially because it makes the writing of biologically useful programs relatively straightforward." Programming skills are now in strong demand in biology research and development. Although historically programming has not been viewed as a critical skill for biologists, recent trends have made computer analysis of massive amounts of data central to many research programs. "This is the golden era of biology research," Tisdall explains. "All the genes of several organisms, including humans, are now known, and more are on the way. As we use this information to unravel the mechanisms by which genes and their products interact and are controlled, programming skills will be a very important part of the discovery process. Bioinformatics programming is a part of the endeavor to cure diseases, to improve agriculture, and ultimately to learn the secrets of life (hopefully for the benefit of all)." "Beginning Perl for Bioinformatics" is intended as a hands-on, one-volume course for busy biologists. It begins with an introduction to the "art" of programming in general, walking the reader through the approaches to programming and programming strategy, then focuses on Perl specifically. Tisdall's goal is to teach researchers how to write useful and practical bioinformatics programs as quickly and as painlessly as possible. The book presents a programming tutorial that includes a collection of "protocols" or programming techniques that can be immediately applied in the lab. Exercises and examples are based on real biological problems. "Many scientists start out writing small programs and find that they really like programming," Tisdall says. "As programmers, they never need to worry about finding the right tools for their needs: they can write programs themselves. This book will get them started." "Beginning Perl for Bioinformatics" is the second release in O'Reilly's highly acclaimed new series of books on the field of bioinformatics. It provides a good introduction to the most common bioinformatic programming problems and the most common computer-based biological data. The O'Reilly Bioinformatics Technology Conference, Practical Tools for Innovation, will take place January 28-31, 2002 in Tucson, AZ. For more information, go to: http://conferences.oreilly.com/biocon/cfp.html An article by the author, "Why Biologists Want to Program Computers" can be found at: http://www.oreilly.com/news/perlbio_1001.html Another article by the author, "Parsing Protein Domains with Perl" can be found http://www.perl.com/pub/a/2001/11/16/perlbio2.html Chapter 10, "GenBank," is available free online at: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/begperlbio/chapter/ch10.html For more information about the book, including Table of Contents, index, author bio, and samples, see: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/begperlbio/ For a cover graphic in jpeg format, go to: ftp://ftp.ora.com/pub/graphics/book_covers/hi-res/0596000804.jpg Beginning Perl for Bioinformatics By James Tisdall November 2001 ISBN 0-596-00080-4, 368 pages, $39.95 (US) firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-998-9938 http://www.oreilly.com About O'Reilly O'Reilly & Associates is the premier information source for leading-edge computer technologies. We communicate the knowledge of experts through our books, conferences, and web sites. Our books, known for their animals on the covers, occupy a treasured place on the shelves of the developers building the next generation of software. Our conferences and summits bring innovators together to shape the revolutionary ideas that spark new industries. From the Internet to the Web, Linux, open source, peer-to-peer networking, and now bioinformatics, we put technologies on the map. For more information: http://www.oreilly.com # # # O'Reilly is a registered trademark of O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.