Genomics is the study of the total genetic makeup of individual organisms, and how this genetic information is structured, functions, and has evolved; bioinformatics encompasses a diverse range of analytical methods and tools applied to genomic data. Genomics lies at the centre of biology because the genetic code of an individual is its blueprint for life and influences nearly every aspect of its biology and also carries a genealogical record of its evolutionary history.
The genomics and bioinformatics major is an interdisciplinary program of study involving the application of theory, laboratory, and information technology relating to the rapidly emerging discipline of genomics and the allied field of bioinformatics. As a result of advances in instrumentation, next generation DNA sequencing has dramatically lowered the cost of generating genomic data sets to the extent that genomics now contributes to a very broad range of biological and medical disciplines. The genomics and bioinformatics major is designed to produce multi-skilled graduates who are equipped to undertake DNA sequencing projects involving different genomic applications, a range of sampling and experimental designs and manage and analyse large and complex data sets using bioinformatic tools and effectively communicate the results of genomic studies.
Genomics now underpins the study of many exciting and important areas of science that will increasingly contribute to the betterment of society through superior health care (personalised medicine), enhanced food security (better crops), biotechnology breakthroughs (drug and vaccine discoveries and production) and improved conservation and biodiversity management. Graduates with a major in genomics and bioinformatics find employment in medical and agricultural research institutes, hospitals, government departments, schools and universities, patent firms, genetic counselling services, forensics laboratories, and biotechnology and DNA sequencing companies.
Genomics and bioinformatics is listed in S2000 Bachelor of Science at Malaysia as a major.
In addition to achieving the broad outcomes of their course, students successfully completing this major will be able to:
- illustrate an understanding of recent advances in genomics knowledge, its scientific principles and concepts in areas including agricultural genomics, clinical genomics, gene expression, microbial, population and ecological genomics and bioinformatics
- develop advanced practical skills in experimental methods relevant to genomics including next generation sequencing, high throughput genotyping, transcriptomics, metagenomics and population genomics analyses
- apply bioinformatics concepts and methods, programmes and pipelines required to support contemporary genomics research and big data analysis and interpretation
- evaluate the importance of ethical and social issues related to the use of genomics in the context of medicine, food production and biotechnology.