Call it a nerd's world. The explosion in genomic and proteomics research has ignited the demand for life scientists who can write computer code or make sense of the complex algorithms of genome sequencing research. The bioinformatics discipline preceded the genomic revolution, but because of the human genome research and its related studies, scientists with a yen for binary code can just about name their salaries at the world's burgeoning biotech companies.

Feeling constricted by commerce? Big research institutes are opening or broadening bioinformatics departments and building information partnerships with their corporate colleagues. Duke University recently joined the computer-programming researchers club when it won a $7.2 million National Science Foundation grant to boost its bioinformatics resources.

"There's a huge need for bioinformatics people," says Atul Butte, a fellow in bioinformatics at Children's Hospital in Boston and an instructor at Harvard University. "There are very few people who know exactly...

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