Genomics

How does genomics differ from genetics?

Genetics looks at single genes, one at a time, as a snapshot. With genomics, researchers try to look at all (or at least many) of the genes as a dynamic, global system over time to determine how they interact with and influence biological pathways, networks, and physiology.

Genomics has yielded a wealth of potential new drug targets. However, for the vast majority of targets very little is known about their functions, roles in cellular pathways, or connections to disease.

What do (and don't) we know about genomics now?

We still don't know the function of over half the human genes. Systematic genetic/genomic and protein/proteomic manipulations and disruptions can be powerful ways of determining gene and protein functions. Gene silencing by ribonucleic acid (RNA) interference (RNAi) provides a highly specific method to down-regulate genes. Knockout animals (rats, mice, yeast, and other model organisms) can be studied systematically in experiments that would be both unethical and impractical in humans. But knocking out genes can result in phenotypes that appear to be perfectly normal.

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