PLoS tackles bioinformatics for beginners

As computers become increasingly integrated into biological studies, the online journal PLoS Computational Biology has started publishing new articles targeting high school educators who are interested in teaching bioinformatics. A new subsection dedicated to this audience became available in the open-access journal last week.

The journal's new subsection has four items dedicated to the topic, including editorials by veterans of teaching bioinformatics from the high school and university levels. "Ten Simple Rules for Teaching Bioinformatics at the High School Level," for example, brings insights from a high school biology teacher in Massachusetts and a bioinformatics expert at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, MA.

Biological studies have become increasingly dependent on computer technologies, as forces such as the genomics revolution require scientists to analyze and manage huge amounts of data for research. Since the middle of the last century, bioinformatics has evolved from a nascent field involving scientists with computer skills to a specialized area of focus for many professionals in high demand all over the world.

"Through the Education section of PLoS Computational Biology we have tried to support this evolution through a collection of educational articles pertinent to the undergraduate level and beyond," wrote Fran Lewitter of Whitehead and Philip Bourne of the University of California San Diego, in an editorial. "It is only natural that we would take the next step."

- here's a link to the new subsection of PLoS