Functional genomics touches base

Genomics and Proteomics: Functional and Computational Aspects

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Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers · June 2000 Hardback £94/$135

As stated in one of the chapters of this book, “genomics does not end when all base pairs of DNA have been sequenced”. Large-scale sequencing projects have triggered a giant step for biological sciences. But in the aftermath of the working draft for the human genome, biologists are now left with an even greater number of questions. Undoubtedly, they will have to use new approaches to address them. In “Genomics and Proteomics”, the reader will find a description of some of the new challenges but also the opportunities brought about by the post-genomic era. Challenges include finding the correct structure of genes at the DNA level or determining the three-dimensional structure of a large numbers of proteins and elucidating their functions. The opportunities described here include measuring transcript or protein product levels for all genes and drawing a nearly complete picture of a chromosome's architecture.

The book gives a good sample of the emerging fields of functional genomics and proteomics. An increasing number of biologists have to face the field of bio-informatics which is now becoming an integrated part of the post-genomic era. Eight chapters introduce the reader to many of the different bio-informatics approaches currently being developed. These include sequence assembly, gene predictions within the genomic sequence, sequence homology searches, 3D structure predictions, and development of tools and databases for the analysis and visualization of data by biologists. Particularly, one chapter nicely describes the requirements for the launching of large-scale proteome-wide “structural genomics” projects. One of the main qualities of this book it that most of the chapters attempt to bring together the needs of conventional biology with the new possibilities offered by the functional genomics and proteomics fields. In that sense, many “non-genomicists” will find it interesting. We nevertheless saw two weak points in this publication. First, many of the chapters describe large sets of very detailed data sets, which would not be compatible with a textbook setting. College students might get relatively confused. Second, specialists in the field of genomics might be a little frustrated by the fact that some of the information is already getting old. In an area of biology that is probably moving faster than any other (who would have thought 2 years ago that the sequencing of the human genome would be complete by February 2000?) books like these can become rapidly out of date.

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Vaglio, P., Vidal, M. Functional genomics touches base. Nat Cell Biol 3, E100 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1038/35070137

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