Book recommendations for C++ programmer?

philipp.pagel at cmp.yale.edu philipp.pagel at cmp.yale.edu
Mon Feb 25 09:32:48 EST 2002

Heinz R. Vahlbruch <heinz.robert at vahlbruch.net> wrote:

> I'm a C++ programmer and I would like to shift my programming interests to
> BioScience. Unfortunately I don't have a strong biological background yet. I
> would like to ask whether any of you has a recommendation for books
> introducing Bioinformatics for Computer Sciences people. I'm looking for an
> overview on key topics, working areas, for what problems programs are used,
> what they should do and information about algorithms to solve problems.


There are many possibilities. One thing you should get yourself is an
introductory book on molecular biology/cell biology and one on genetics
so you get an idea about the bio background and how the potential users
think, what they are interested in etc.

A good example would be:

Alberts, Bray et al.
Essential Cell Biology: An Introduction to the Molecular Biology of the

	This is the short version of a popular text among biology people.

For the real bioinformatics there are tons of books out there which are
of varying quality. 

One to avoid (in my opinion) is

Developing Bioinformatics computer skills
by Gibas and Jambeck

	Very superficial. Neither programmers nor biologists will really learn
	anythting here...

My two favorites are:

D Mount. Bioinformatics

  Expensive but really good overview of various areas of bioinformatics.
	I think this one is valuable for both programmers and biologists who
	are interested in bioinformatics.

D Gusfield. Algortihms on strings, trees and sequences: Computer science
and molecular biology

  Excellent book on the topic. This is great food for programmers who
	want to deal with anything sequence related.

For an overview of existing applications you might consider 

A Baxevanis, B Ouellette. Bioinformatics: A Practical Guide to the
Analysis of Genes and Proteins.

	As I said: overview of some existing applications and where to find
	them on the web.

But honestly - it probably makes more sense to directly surf the web and
see for yourself. Books like this get outdated very quick even if they
are good (like this one).

Some suggested starting points:







There are tons more - but once you get some of the important keywords
google will get you more intersting stuff than you can handle...


Dr. Philipp Pagel
Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology        phone: (203) 785-6835	
Yale University                                        fax:   (203) 785-4951
New Haven, CT 06520, USA

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