Several years have passed since the sequencing of the human genome and what might be called "the post-genomic era" has begun. Of course, there are many different genomes and the term "post-genomic" does not necessarily imply the human genome. However, it is the data encoded in the human genome that hold the promise to be of practical importance in a wide range of biomedical applications. The sequencing and preliminary annotations of the human genome provided an incredible amount of the raw, largely unprocessed information. Coupled with the millions of publications on human physiology already available in public databases, it is clear that certain informational strategies should be adopted for the retrieval, analysis and representation of these data. Among biological sciences, bioinformatics is a specific branch that deals with managing complexities in the biological information. However, the bioinformatics is in no way restricted to the compilation of large databases or elaboration of sophisticated software. The methods of bioinformatics can greatly assist the generation of productive hypotheses that allow subsequent experimental testing followed by confirmation or disapproval.
The main idea behind the present volume is not worrying about the steadily growing amounts of biomedical information or about the relative quality of it. This volume, as well as the entire book series, is based on the purpose-oriented attitude: how to make a good use of this information in particular research projects.