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Books, Journals, New Media
December 24/31, 2003


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2003;290(24):3255. doi:10.1001/jama.290.24.3255-a

This is a well thought-out and well put-together "cookbook" for those just starting out in the relatively new field of bioinformatics and for occasional users who need a concise and thorough reference on how to perform the tasks it explains. The authors are highly experienced contributors in the field, and their insights into what newcomers need to do and how they should do it show through clearly.

Thorough recipes ("detailed steps lists") for how to use the many types of software available are presented in a well annotated, step-by-step fashion. Examples are well chosen and topical. Paragraphs explaining many of the critical concepts necessary to understand and use the recipes effectively are an excellent feature, for instance, "Making Sure You Have the Right Sequences and the Right Methods" and "The Differences Between Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes." Another excellent feature is the wealth of URLs for bioinformatics sites on the World Wide Web. The number of bioinformatics tools available on the Internet has burgeoned significantly over the last several years and continues to grow rapidly weekly. The authors have done a good job of packing each chapter with pertinent links, which they plan on updating periodically on their companion Web site, http://www.dummies.com/extras/bioinformatics_fd/.

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