Metabolite profiling: from diagnostics to systems biology


The concept of metabolite profiling has been around for several decades, but only recent technical innovations have allowed metabolite profiling to be carried out on a large scale — with respect to both the number of metabolites measured and the number of experiments carried out. As a result, the power of metabolite profiling as a technology platform for diagnostics, and the research areas of gene-function analysis and systems biology, is now beginning to be fully realized.

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Figure 1: The trade-off between metabolic coverage and the quality of metabolic analysis.
Figure 2: Overexpression and metabolite profiling at the transgenomic level.


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The authors thank O. Schmitz for assistance in the preparation of figure 2. Software used in the preparation of figure 2 was provided by OmniViz Inc.

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Correspondence to Alisdair R. Fernie.

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The smallest taxonomic subdivision of an ecospecies, which consists of populations that have adapted to a particular set of environmental conditions.


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Fernie, A., Trethewey, R., Krotzky, A. et al. Metabolite profiling: from diagnostics to systems biology. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 5, 763–769 (2004).

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