In 1998, the Asia Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNet), Asia's oldest bioinformatics organisation was set up to champion the advancement of bioinformatics in the Asia Pacific. By 2002, APBioNet was able to gain sufficient critical mass to initiate the first International Conference on Bioinformatics (InCoB) bringing together scientists working in the field of bioinformatics in the region. This year, the InCoB2006 Conference was organized as the 5th annual conference of the Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network, on Dec. 18-20, 2006 in New Delhi, India, following a series of successful events in Bangkok (Thailand), Penang (Malaysia), Auckland (New Zealand) and Busan (South Korea). This Introduction provides a brief over-view of the peer-reviewed manuscripts accepted for publication in this Supplement. It exemplifies a typical snapshot of the growing research excellence in bioinformatics of the region as we embark on a trajectory of establishing a solid bioinformatics research culture in the Asia Pacific that is able to contribute fully to the global bioinformatics community.