by the guest editors Roeland Merks and Marie-France Sagot
The Life Sciences are traditionally a descriptive science, in which both data collection and data analysis both play a central role. The latest decennia have seen major technical advances, which have made it possible to collect biological data at an unprecedented scale. Even more than the speed at which new data are acquired, the very complexity of what they represent makes it particularly difficult to make sense of them. Ultimately, biological data science should further the understanding of biological mechanisms and yield useful predictions, to improve individual health care or public health or to predict useful environmental interferences.