If you really think about it, data is only as good as the ability to acquire, quantitate, and compare various points that may be significant to the underlying observation. During the "historic" era of science most analyses were performed by visually evaluating a series of films or other forms of data and making side-by-side comparisons and interpretations. Conclusions were, for the most part, qualitative in nature, and rarely could true quantitative values be ascribed to particular bands or spots. As a result, one usually relied on a vocabulary of creative adjectives to describe changes of the data points.

With the application of electronic and imaging technologies, significant advances have been made in the ability to collect and quantitatively analyze data. Laboratories now have the capability of acquiring and quantitating data points, making representative comparisons using hard numbers, and consequently making more accurate predictions based on more than just what a...

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