We need bioinformatics to…


This field of science designs software tools for research in the life sciences. Today, the quantity of biological data accumulated by laboratories is daunting. As a result, the data can no longer be dealt with ‘manually’ and bioinformatics has become an essential ally.

The indispensable ally

Thanks to bioinformatics, researchers can analyze, stock and visualize biological data, whose interpretation will lead to new knowledge.


We need bioinformatics to…

Analyse and understand the mechanisms of life thanks to bioinformatics programs

Sort out the mass of biological data by creating structured databases

Model biological phenomena such as blood coagulation

Support experimental research in the laboratory such as biomedical research for the development of new drugs and therapies

Predicton the basis of comparison, such as a protein’s function or the involvement of a gene in an illness

Provide the scientific community with efficient computing centres


We need bioinformatics to…

Develop and test models that support and orientate research

Acquire a novel and more global vision of the life sciences

A few examples...

Web page for human insulin in the ‘UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot’ database

Created and maintained at SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, this database stores information on proteins. From bacteria to plants and mammals, over 12’000 living species are represented and more than 560’000 protein data sheets are freely accessible to scientists (and anyone else) worldwide.



Phylogenetic tree or tree of life

This tree was built using the iTOL program, which was developed at SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics. A tree of life helps us visualize the ties that exist between the different species, and to understand their evolution over time.


A DNA chip

Gene fragments appear as luminous spots of variable intensity on this DNA chip. Thanks to specialised programs – such as ‘GeneChip Operating Software’ – it is possible to quantify a gene’s activity in a cell, in a given tissue (liver, intestine…), at a given moment (embryo, adult…) and in a given state (ill, healthy…). DNA chips are used in biological research to simultaneously measure the expression of thousand of genes.