Perl As Programming Language of Choice for Biologists!!

Perl as Programming Language of Choice for Biologists!!


Why Biologists (Bioinformaticians or Bioinformaticists, if the scientific jargon is to be preferred) Prefer Perl?

I am a bioinformaticist, and love Perl over all other computer languages when it comes to programming in biology. This is not only my case, majority of the biologists prefer Perl for their bioinformatics’ tasks. Perl can be given the status of being the mainstay programming language in the field of Bioinformatics or Computational Biology. There must be some reasons why this is the case; actually there are some very strong points that favor the use of Perl in biology over the other lot of available programming languages. But, to be honest, at times, other computer programming languages can be of more benefit than Perl, at least for a specific task. If you are not acquainted with Perl, click here for, what the heck is Perl? In this article, I will explain why it is justified to consider Perl as programming language of choice for biologists, and for the sake of information, I would like to tell that even the non-biologists too prefer it much!

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A Biological Marvel Unleashed

A Biological Marvel Unleashed

A Biological Marvel - Photosynthetic Sea Slug - adidarwinian
A Biological Marvel – Photosynthetic Sea Slug

Note the bright green hue in the photograph.

This Sea Slug is a Biological Marvel — It is both an Animal and a Plant!!

“Elysia chlorotica can make energy containing molecules without having to eat anything.”

“This is the first time that multicellular animals have been able to produce chlorophyll“.

Elysia chlorotica is not an ordinary sea slug (a mollusc). Elysia chlorotica is a photosynthetic sea animal. Like plants, it is capable of converting sunlight into energy.

The photosynthetic ability of Elysia chlorotica is the result of incorporation of algal (Vaucheria litorea) chloroplasts (organelles found in plant cells in which photosynthesis occurs) and chlorophyll producing genes into its molluscan cells. Vaucheria litorea belongs to the yellow-green algae of the class  Xanthophyceae.

These slugs initially got the chlorophyll producing genes from the algae that they had eaten. Present generations of slugs have received these genes from their parent generations, and they are passing them to their daughter generations.

Elysia chlorotica gets its chlorophyll-making genes through genetic inheritance, but still is unable to carry out photosynthesis until it consumes adequate quantity of algae so as to receive necessary chloroplasts, which it is unable to produce by itself.

Photosynthetic Sea Slug - Elysia chlorotica - adidarwinian