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Essential Bioinformatics is a concise yet comprehensive textbook of bioinformatics, which provides a broad introduction to the entire field. Written specifically for a life science audience, the basics of bioinformatics are explained, followed by discussions of the state-of-the-art computational tools available to solve biological research problems. All key areas of bioinformatics are covered including biological databases, sequence alignment, genes and promoter prediction, molecular phylogenetics, structural bioinformatics, genomics and proteomics. The book emphasizes how computational methods work and compares the strengths and weaknesses of different methods. This balanced yet easily accessible text will be invaluable to students who do not have sophisticated computational backgrounds. Technical details of computational algorithms are explained with a minimum use of mathematical formulae; graphical illustrations are used in their place to aid understanding. The effective synthesis of existing literature as well as in-depth and up-to-date coverage of all key topics in bioinformatics make this an ideal textbook for all bioinformatics courses taken by life science students and for researchers wishing to develop their knowledge of bioinformatics to facilitate their own research.