Hypothesis-Testing in a Biological Cartographic Virtual World
The biological sciences are at a watershed where the technological advances in data collection and database populating are leading toward a new era in understanding living organisms. The newest biological disciplines, bioinformatics and systems biology, hold the key to the next level of understanding. There are multiple challenges that must be met before biologists can build a virtual world in which they can study, analyze, visualize, and simulate both organismal behavior, the goal of systems biology, and the evolution of life, the core of bioinformatics. The addition of GPS- and Mapquest-driven cartographic virtual worlds on our car dashboards has revolutionized the way we navigate. We believe that the next revolution in systems biology and bioinformatics will come from adding a similar set of cartographic virtual world tools to the biologist’s toolbox. Here we focus on some of the visualization challenges required for a biologist to plan in silico experiments for hypothesis-testing while na01vi0gating a cartographic virtual world in which playing field size can vary by fifteen orders of magnitude.