Marlie MacLean and Colin Miles highlight the skills gap for 'bioinformaticians' in the United Kingdom and elsewhere (Nature 401, 10; 1999). There is little doubt that, given the resources, it will be possible to find many people capable of manipulating the enormous volumes of data being generated, but such people must have a knowledge of and genuine interest in biology. The solution is either to identify those who are adept at both computer science and biology, which will be difficult, or to create interdisciplinary teams, which is a much more realistic approach.

The present headlong rush to expand bioinformatics could lead to the creation of isolated groups that have little interaction with molecular biologists and biochemists. If this occurs, the subject will fail to achieve the promise that we are led to expect in terms of a better understanding of biology and disease.