Bioinformatic "how to" guide.
Late last year, my co-authors and I published a "how to" guide for using bioninformatic tools. Although this review focusses on the tools available to the field of immunology, at least half of the article is applicable to anyone interested in getting started with these tools.
The idea to write this review was based on our frustration with how many great tools exist that are severely under-utilized by immunologists. And I'm not talking about software that assumes that the user has taken 10 computer science courses; these are copy and paste, easy-to-use tools that your parents could use (sorry, Mom & Dad).
We start by explaining tools that are common to all fields, including how to find a sequence of interest from a reputible, online database, how to conduct sequence alignments, and how to search for single nucleotide polyporphism (SNPs) in genes of interest. We conclude with tools that are specific to immunology, such as immgen.org, macrophages.com, and IRIS (Immune responses in silico).
Check out our review if you're interested, but, more importantly, consider including the use of simple, easy-to-use, online bioinformatic tools in your microbiology, molecular biology, immunology, anything-ogy research approaches to generate hypotheses and gain knowledge that can save you time and money at the lab bench!