A bioinformatics tools overview

The field of bioinformatics is constantly evolving at a rapid pace. Grasping its latest developments and trends can be challenging for tool developers that wish to create accurate and up-to-date solutions that match life scientists’ needs.


Be aware of the current status of the field can be of importance for a variety of reason. For example, knowing the most popular programming language in bioinformatics can give you an advantage when applying for a position, and identifying the top tool-funding agencies can help you get the grant you need to develop your tool. For this, we created a dashboard of interactive figures to provide an overview of the field of bioinformatics tool development, accompanied with a series of blogposts to present some of their features and an article to place tool development in a historical and detailed perspective.


To help you sort out all these info, we made a visual “best-off” tools overview to quickly identify what’s hot in bioinformatics, or simply to broaden your knowledge.


Some of the insights you can uncover include fundings & collaboration, current trends in development, impact on literature and more!
This snapshot can be downloaded freely here.





  • The analysis is based on 30,000+ bioinformatics resources indexed on OMICtools platform.


  • More than 1 out of 3 tools are related to the genomics field


  • 8 out of 10 tools are related to the genomics, proteomics or transcriptomics field


  • 35% of tools are related to the genomics field


  • 25% of tools are related to the proteomics field


  • 24% of tools are related to the transcriptomics field


  • 8% of tools are related to the epigenomics field


  • 5% of tools are related to the metabolomics field


  • 3% of tools are related to the phenomics field


  • We went from 25 tools developed in 1990 to 3,166 tools developed in 2017


  • The top 10 bioinformatics tool developing countries are: USA (9,841), United Kingdom (2,655), Germany (2,538), China (2,438), France (1,276), Canada (1,066), Japan (819), Spain (754), Australia (727) and Italy (721)


  • USA is the top tool developing country with almost 4 times more tools developed than United Kingdom which is the second one


  • 6 out of the top 10 tool developing institutions are located in the USA


  • The top 3 funding agencies are the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)


  • 22% of tools are developed through international collaborations


  • The top 5 collaborations are USA – UK (518 tools), USA – China (503 tools), USA – Germany (369 tools), USA – Canada (258 tools) and UK -Germany (217 tools).


  • R, Python and C++ are the most popular programming languages for the development of bioinformatics tools


  • 70% of bioinformatics tools are desktop applications


  • 50% of bioinformatics tools run exclusively on Linux/UNIX


  • 80% of tools are published in the literature, and 41% are cited by researchers in other articles.


  • 20% of publications cite at least 6 tools



Source: OMICtools database (30,000+ tools as of August 2018)
Read the full publication.