JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Where are we in genomics?

J F Hocquette
Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology: An Official Journal of the Polish Physiological Society 2005, 56: 37-70
16077195
Genomic studies provide scientists with methods to quickly analyse genes and their products en masse. The first high-throughput techniques to be developed were sequencing methods. A great number of genomes from different organisms have thus been sequenced. Genomics is now shifting to the study of gene expression and function. In the past 5-10 years genomics, proteomics and high-throughput microarray technologies have fundamentally changed our ability to study the molecular basis of cells and tissues in health and diseases, giving a new comprehensive view. For example, in cancer research we have seen new diagnostic opportunities for tumour classification, and prognostication. A new exciting development is metabolomics and lab-on-a-chip techniques (which combine miniaturization and automation) for metabolic studies. However, to interpret the large amount of data, extensive computational development is required. In the coming years, we will see the study of biological networks dominating the scene in Physiology. The great accumulation of genomics information will be used in computer programs to simulate biologic processes. Originally developed for genome analysis, bioinformatics now encompasses a wide range of fields in biology from gene studies to integrated biology (i.e. combination of different data sets from genes to metabolites). This is systems biology which aims to study biological organisms as a whole. In medicine, scientific results and applied biotechnologies arising from genomics will be used for effective prediction of diseases and risk associated with drugs. Preventive medicine and medical therapy will be personalized. Widespread applications of genomics for personalized medicine will require associations of gene expression pattern with diagnoses, treatment and clinical data. This will help in the discovery and development of drugs. In agriculture and animal science, the outcomes of genomics will include improvement in food safety, in crop yield, in traceability and in quality of animal products (dairy products and meat) through increased efficiency in breeding and better knowledge of animal physiology. Genomics and integrated biology are huge tasks and no single lab can pursue this alone. We are probably at the end of the beginning rather than at the beginning of the end because Genomics will probably change Biology to a greater extent than previously forecasted. In addition, there is a great need for more information and better understanding of genomics before complete public acceptance.

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