Profound changes are occurring in the strategies that biotechnology-based industries are deploying in the search for exploitable biology and to discover new products and develop new or improved processes. There is a paradigm shift from traditional biology to bioinformatics that is revolutionising exploitable biology. This paradigm shift has been driven by a convergence of complementary technologies, exemplified by DNA sequencing and amplification, genome sequencing and annotation, proteome analysis and phenotypic inventorying, resulting in the establishment of huge databases that can be mined to generate useful knowledge .
Natural products continue to provide the most productive source of leads for new medicines, including the statins, immunosuppressants and anticancer agents. However, less than ten percent of this vast resource has been tested for biological activity, yet nearly half of the top twenty selling drugs owe their origins to natural products, as do many drugs now in development. With the varied applications of Bioinformatics, re-invigorated means of detecting novel organisms, novel chemical structures and novel biocatalytic activities ensure that natural products will continue to be a primary resource for developments and applications in biotechnology.
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