Bioinformatics in Latin America and SoIBio impact, a tale of spin-off and expansion around genomes and protein structures

Brief Bioinform. 2019 Mar 22;20(2):390-397. doi: 10.1093/bib/bbx064.


Owing to the emerging impact of bioinformatics and computational biology, in this article, we present an overview of the history and current state of the research on this field in Latin America (LA). It will be difficult to cover without inequality all the efforts, initiatives and works that have happened for the past two decades in this vast region (that includes >19 million km2 and >600 million people). Despite the difficulty, we have done an analytical search looking for publications in the field made by researchers from 19 LA countries in the past 25 years. In this way, we find that research in bioinformatics in this region should develop twice to approach the average world scientific production in the field. We also found some of the pioneering scientists who initiated and led bioinformatics in the region and were promoters of this new scientific field. Our analysis also reveals that spin-off began around some specific areas within the biomolecular sciences: studies on genomes (anchored in the new generation of deep sequencing technologies, followed by developments in proteomics) and studies on protein structures (supported by three-dimensional structural determination technologies and their computational advancement). Finally, we show that the contribution to this endeavour of the Iberoamerican Society for Bioinformatics, founded in Mexico in 2009, has been significant, as it is a leading forum to join efforts of many scientists from LA interested in promoting research, training and education in bioinformatics.

Keywords: Ibero-America; Latin America; SoIBio; bioinformatics; computational biology; genomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research*
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Genome, Human*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Latin America
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteomics / methods


  • Proteins