What is pathway analysis?

Drashti Shah
Bioinformatics with Rust
2 min readJan 7, 2024

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Pathway analysis is a method used in biology to understand how different molecules in a cell interact and work together to carry out specific functions. It’s like mapping out a complex network, where each node is a molecule, and the connections are the interactions between them.

Let’s take an example: photosynthesis in plants. In this process, plants convert sunlight into energy. Pathway analysis helps to map out how different molecules like chlorophyll, water, and carbon dioxide interact in a series of steps to produce glucose and oxygen. Each step is a part of the pathway, and understanding each step helps in understanding the whole process.

Another example is the pathway involved in human digestion. When you eat, your body breaks down food into nutrients. Pathway analysis can show how enzymes in your digestive system break down complex food molecules into simpler ones, which are then absorbed into the body. It’s like following the journey of food, from eating to absorption.

In bioinformatics, pathway analysis involves using computer software to study these pathways. Scientists input data about various molecules and their interactions, and the software helps to visualize and analyze these complex networks. This analysis is crucial for understanding biological processes and can help in areas like drug development, where understanding pathways can lead to finding new targets for medicines.

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Drashti Shah
Bioinformatics with Rust

ESG & climate data scientist by day. Aspiring computational biologist by night.