Biology and Computers

I recently ran across a nice summary of two papers in Science about the lack of understanding in biology of the way biological software, and computational biology in general, operate. The Science article authors opine about the lack of knowledge in biological labs of how the computational tools — gene sequencers for example — actually operate. I would tend to argue that the same could be said for almost any research lab today, with virtually any subject. I feel these researchers are perhaps longing for the mythic days of yore, when a man of knowledge did know much about everything, as there was arguably much less to know. I think every research lab out there probably is lacking in it’s knowledge of something, whether it’s the biologist who doesn’t understand his computational tools, or the computational biologist who knows too little about how actual organisms live and reproduce. So while I can understand why they worry, I wonder if this is just simply the way things are to be in a world of super-specialists.

Original articles:

Science, 2009. DOI: 10.1126/science.1173876
Science, 2009. DOI: 10.1126/science.1176016

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