Found 2 comments on HN
stiff · 2013-12-15 · Original thread
Biology is completely different from Computer Science and metaphors between the fields build no understanding and can only be misleading, every time I hear someone comparing DNA to a computer program I fall into pieces. I recommend "Molecular Biology for Computer Scientists" instead for those willing to learn some actual biology:

http://www.biostat.wisc.edu/~craven/hunter.pdf

I think it's the first chapter of this book:

http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/processes-life

I once considered going into bioinformatics, and did an intense three weeks sprint trying to learn some molecular biology, ending in a seminar presentation to other people explaining the basics. I used this book back then which I also recommend strongly to those interested:

http://www.amazon.com/Bioinformatics-Molecular-Evolution-Pau...

It covers all the basics of molecular biology very understandably and at the same time the scientific/computational content is interesting even for a computer scientist. Still, learning this stuff takes hard work, you have to rehash some relevant chemistry first or you get nowhere, than biologists use a lot of both chemical and biological lingo which you have to understand, and only then the actual biological content becomes clear. Once you do understand it, however, it's beautiful, beautiful stuff, one of the most beautiful things one can learn in general I think, of which you unfortunately won't get a sense from reading this article, or in general from trying to understand it by sloppy metaphors. Do yourself a favour and try to understand this for real.

jergason · 2009-11-18 · Original thread
I am in an undergraduate-level bioinformatics course right now, and can echo what was said about statistics. The biology isn't too tough to pick up, but I am weak in stats and that is my greatest difficulty with this class. That said, I am enjoying it immensely. The book we use is a good overview of the subject - http://www.amazon.com/Bioinformatics-Molecular-Evolution-Pau... -Bioinformatics and Molecular Evolution. Most of the tools that bioinformaticians use are buggy, horribly designed and very unfriendly to the average user. One way to get involved is just improving the usability and stability of the tools. There are plenty of command line tools that you can add a GUI to if that is your thing:

http://bio-bwa.sourceforge.net/

http://abacus.gene.ucl.ac.uk/software/paml.html

http://samtools.sourceforge.net/

You don't need to know too much to contribute. If you are in Utah and interested I could get you some contacts with professors.

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