While genes carry most of the information, it's the proteins that do the actual work. Humans appear to have only about 30,000 genes (wheat and barley have more). Over 40% of human proteins share similarity with proteins in fruit flies (Drosophila) or worms (Caenorhabditis elegans). The science of proteomics seeks to identify the biochemical and cellular quantities, structures, and functions of all of these proteins, particularly in relation to their specific roles in disease. If it can be demonstrated that a particular protein is associated with a particular cellular function, then compounds which act on that protein may be useful in treating or curing a related disease.
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