To make it super simple to my niece, I would say there is a thread named DNA in everyone's body and it has all the information on how your hair grows and how tall you become after growing up etc and also information of your health. Because of some mistakes/modification in this thread people become ill. So I'll take out the copy of ill people's thread and check where the mistake has been happened comparing with a healthy thread. As this thread is very very long I use our computer to do this task.
The Up-goer 5 text editor attempts to explain hard ideas using only the 1000 most common words in the English language.
Here is the resulting description of genomics from the blog:
"In every cell of our bodies, there is a written plan that explains how that cell should make all of the things that it needs to make. A cell that grows hair is very different to a cell that is in your heart or brain. However, all cells still have the same plan but different parts of the plan are turned on in different cells.
We first understood what the full plan looks like for humans in 2003. We can use computers to make sense of the plan and to learn more about how many parts are needed to make a human (about 20,000). The better we understand the plan, the more we might be able to make human lives better."
Think you have a little sister or brother. but you both have same parents. Why you both are different ?
Once your brother/sister is sick, you are not. What makes that difference?
I will show him a building and will tell , form outside you are observing this smooth building . But you know this building is created with lots of little piece of bricks or blocks. Some blocks are good in quality and some block are bad in quality .
Then i will show him another building and will tell , may be this building also build with the bricks/ blocks form the same company. But this building is completely different form the previous one . Because the blocks in this building are not organised like the previous one.
Same as building , our human body is also created with some building block . They are symbolized as A,T,G,C. Some parts of this build blocks are organised different way in different human. In bioinformatics we are trying to understand , how this building block are organised in our body with the help of computer .
There's a lot of answers that take on explaining of DNA and genetics in a very simple manner. Very good answers, but I think they're more appropriate for very young children (3-4 years old).
By the age of 2 children teach themselves how to talk (sometimes in more than one language) and walk which are no easy tasks. I'm sure a 10 year old can understand genetics very well without the use of metaphors.
I'd go about it the way I go about it with my humanitarian friends. Draw some pictures to explain sequencing, assembly, and maybe BLASTs for annotation to explain how new organisms are being studied via bioinformatics. Explain that it's essentially a big complex jigsaw puzzle. And say that bioinformatics tools are like calculators. 10 year old children know what coding is, and if not (which I doubt), this can be explained very easily with a simple example in Python.
I would say "using computers to solve biology problems". If he is stumped, it is ok. But if he is more curious what are those biological problems, then i ll bring, molecules like DNA, RNA, code, program etc and eloborate.
First I would refresh the 10 year old's memory about DNA a little bit (at that age they should have already heard about it at school). Then I would say that basically I study this DNA stuff with the help of computers and that's that.
I would put it a very simple way to a 10 year old.
I try to give everyone a healthy lifestyle and proper information workflows with my computers, so that they can function in biologically relevant way and be aware of problems in that they might incur in life.
I am a mechanic who tries to use a bunch of computer programs to understand the system of living objects and its biological relevance for healthy being just as car mechanic does with his/her tools to understand the intricacies of a car to keep it running effectively.
It means you get data of suboptimal quality, underpowered, messed up metadata with inconsistent delimiters, occasionally a gene name as a date, be expected to work magic on it within a very limited amount of time and without a precise scientific question, and then either get 100% of the blame if it doesn't work out nicely, or merely get any credit if it goes to Nature.