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It may warrant its own 'Ask HN' entry but I will piggy-back on that thread.

What are the books that one should read if one wants to start bio-hacking? Programming and CS books were discussed here many times: K&R, SICP, Corman etc, but what about biotech/life sciences?

I've tried some O'Reilly books like "Perl/Python for bioinformatics" but they are really for biologists trying to program, not the other way around.

I'm actually trying to get into bioinformatics myself. Here are some of the resources I've been using:

  - Khan Academy (Biology, Chemistry, Statistics, Probability)
  - Molecular and Cell Biology for Dummies <-- includes overview of lab techniques like PCR and electrophoresis
  - Bioinformatics for Dummies
  - R Cookbook
  - Molecular Biology of the Cell <-- expensive textbook, very detailed
I was pretty surprised to see a lot of stats being used. I'm sure other people can recommend better resources for bio-hacking instead of bioinformatics.

NCBI is pretty good (i'd say definitive) resource (and time sink :).

For example http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK20260/ or http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/education/ or just http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

If you are a good programmer you ought to know math and statistic.

I would suggest trying to learn biology or chemistry like anyone going for a degree in either or both. Look into what books and other publications they read. Or just go back to school and add a squishy degree to your CS degree. Or do the equivalent of that on your own.

I would say that is way better than Bioinformatics for Dummies.

When you're experimenting with bioinformatics (specifically in R), are there sample data sets you can run queries on? What have you been using?

The great thing about bioinformatics is that there's so much data available online for free. Here are some links:

  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ - sequences, papers, and so much more
  http://smd.stanford.edu/ - microarray data
  http://archive.ics.uci.edu/ml/ - not biology related but good data sets to play with R
To navigate NCBI databases and learn file formats, you can read their documentation (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/education/) or get any bioinformatics book.

Thanks very much for the helpful links!

Biology, is MASSIVE. So first question: What aspect would you like to get involved in?

WET LAB: pipette lab coats and playing with chemicals

"LH002" https://github.com/delinquentme/LH001

"biotech temp agency" http://bit.ly/onCmQI

BIOINFORMATICS: probably the quickest route for a programmer

"Best resources to learn molecular biology for a computer scientist." http://bit.ly/p0zKXG

"Bioinformatics for programmers" http://bit.ly/nxWGps

"A Quick Guide for Developing Effective Bioinformatics Programming Skills" http://bit.ly/6hZEUj

MICROFLUIDICS: "lab on a chip"

List of microfluidic companies http://fluidicmems.com/list-of-microfluidics-lab-on-a-chip-a...

Talk to me if you're serious about it ... there is a HUGE community basically waiting to blow open ... I've recently begun working in bioinformatics and bio into my skillset, in this short time the interest has only grown.

You should watch iBioSeminars (www.ibioseminars.org) to become familiar with biology research. These are free online talks given by leading scientists. They contain a general intro to a topic and then go into the research behind it.

Here are links to two genomics lectures: David Botstein (Princeton): http://www.ibioseminars.org/lectures/cell-bio-a-med/david-bo...

and Jonathan Weissman (UCSF): http://ibioseminars.org/lectures/bio-techniques/jonathan-wei...

Good luck!

I was IBO(International Biology Olympiad) participant during high school, majored in Bioengineering and now a full time web programmer(entrepreneur). Knowing both domains pretty well(better than average person) I have no idea what kind of books should one read, or what kind of approach should one take in order to start biohacking. If any bioprogrammes around here, share some thoughts and recomendation.

If you are a complete newbie, I'd recommend "Cartoon Guide To Genetics". Sadly, it is over a decade old at this point. If anyone has a more contemporary reading list, I would also be interested.

I believe general biology genetics would be more than enough to get into the business. And for an average hacker, those concepts won't be hard to consume. Campbell-Reece Biology book(just the genetics part) might be the right choice.

I recommend watching Steve Yegge's excellent presentation at O'Reilly's OSCON Data. He points out a number of books in the video, but in general this is an excellent talk about preparing to solve hard problems in bio. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKmQW_Nkfk8

Thank you, I'll look at that once again, although AFAIR he showed covers of some O'Reilly books that, like I mentioned, were not very useful.

I highly recommend "Molecular Biology for Computer Scientists" by Lawrence Hunter: www.biostat.wisc.edu/~craven/hunter.pdf

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