Visualizing genome and systems biology: technologies, tools, implementation techniques and trends, past, present and future.

22 Jan 2018

"Α picture is worth a thousand words." This widely used adage sums up in a few words the notion that a successful visual representation of a concept should enable easy and rapid absorption of large amounts of information. Although, in general, the notion of capturing complex ideas using images is very appealing, would 1000 words be enough to describe the unknown in a research field such as the life sciences? Life sciences is one of the biggest generators of enormous datasets, mainly as a result of recent and rapid technological advances; their complexity can make these datasets incomprehensible without effective visualization methods. Here we discuss the past, present and future of genomic and systems biology visualization. We briefly comment on many visualization and analysis tools and the purposes that they serve. We focus on the latest libraries and programming languages that enable more effective, efficient and faster approaches for visualizing biological concepts, and also comment on the future human-computer interaction trends that would enable for enhancing visualization further.