Genomics, Transcriptomics, and Proteomics – The Basics
Genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics are three branches of molecular biology that have become increasingly important in recent years. In this blog post, we would like to provide a brief overview that we hope will provide a useful introduction to each.
Perhaps the most commonly known of these three is genomics. Genomics is the large-scale study of all of the DNA that makes up a given organism or system. This can mean for example all of the DNA that makes up an entire single-cell organism, all of the DNA that makes up a particular cancer tumor, or all of the DNA that makes up an entire human being.
DNA is a double-stranded molecule made up of 4 types of nucleotides, often called the building blocks of DNA – adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and guanine (G). While genomics typically refers primarily to the study of the sequence of these nucleotides, it can also touch areas such as epigenomics, heritable changes that relate instead to which parts of sequences are turned “on” or “off,” as opposed to deciphering only what the actual sequence is.
The introduction of next generation sequencing (NGS) for DNA sequencing has significantly accelerated the study of genomics, allowing for many discoveries that are advancing science and human health. This is particularly true with the advent of precision medicine. Precision medicine focuses on tailoring medical treatments, practices, products, and decisions to the individual, rather than using a one-size-fits-all model. Genomic data has been instrumental in this shift.
There are of course ethical considerations when it comes to genomics and genomic data as well. If an individual has their genome sequenced – where is this information stored? Who owns the information? And how can it be used to help (or unfortunately potentially to hurt) the individual? These are all questions that organizations, governments, and individuals are actively contemplating.
1Tachibana, Chris. “Transcriptomics today: Microarrays, RNA-seq, and more.” Technology Feature. Science AAAS, 31 Jul. 2015. Web. https://www.sciencemag.org/features/2015/07/transcriptomics-today-microarrays-rna-seq-and-more