Handling and analyzing large amounts of data continues to be an urgent need in genomic science. Bioinformatics emerged in response to this need. The new field includes methods to analyze extremely large data sets of genomic information such as DNA sequences and expression from DNA microassays. Students selecting bioinformatics will be concerned both with the management of genomic data and with the means for drawing inferences from these. They will learn to search for pattern and meaning in genomic data and will develop new statistical methods of analysis.
Academic preparation will focus on all quantitative aspects of genomic science—mathematical, statistical and computational analysis. Theoretical research will focus on applications of genomic data in areas such as human identification for forensic and parentage issues, varietal protection of plants, detection of genes affecting disease and those affecting economic traits in plants and animals, prediction and determination of the structure of proteins, gene discovery, sequence alignment, characterization of functional and structural domains in DNA sequences, reconstruction of the evolutionary history of modern species, characterization of the structure of human and other populations, quantification of the extent of genetic diversity in natural and domesticated species.