Omics

 

Since the sequencing of the human genome in 2003, a multitude of omics disciplines have developed to explain the complex inter-relationships of system-wide molecular biology. Traditionally molecular biology was performed on a molecule by molecule basis. Each molecule was purified and characterised. Omics technologies collectively identify and characterise thousands of molecules simultaneously.

 

Omics started with Genomics, the complete sequencing of all the DNA of an organism. These genomic sequences have been assembled and annotated to identify genes and control regions. The genome of an organism is largely static, it only changes slightly due to mutations occurring due to damage or replication errors. While the genome may provide us with information about an organism, it does nothing to tell us about the current state of the organism. DNA is translated into mRNA. Cells in the body have different gene expression patterns, thus conferring identity to those cells. Response to a stimulus may also alter gene expression patterns. Sequencing and quantitating mRNA allows us to determine which genes are being expressed, thus developed the field of transcriptomics. mRNA is translated into proteins. Control mechanisms between transcription and translation may affect proteins abundance. Identifying and quantifying proteins allows us to determine which of the expressed genes are translated and function as proteins. Proteomics is the large scale identification and quantification of proteins. Measuring post-transnational modification on proteins furthermore enables us to determine the state of these proteins. There are numerous subfields of proteomics focused on specific post-translational modifications, such as phospho-proteomics and glycoproteomics. In Metabolomics the metabolites of body fluids and cellular conditions are measured, allowing us to determine metabolic fluxes. Measuring the composition of lipids (Lipidomics) allows us to observe changes in cellular membranes.

 

Omics data generation produces a vast array of data. This data needs to be collected, stored and functionally annotated to deduce meaningful information from it. The field of Bioinformatics has produced tools to make sense of this data. This information portal will catalogue omics data generation resources and the tools used in omics data analysis. Through the help centre we offer expert guidance and assistance for omics research.

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