by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted September 14, 2007 in DNA in General
It’s been just over a week since we were all in a tizzy over the sequencing of Craig Venter’s diploid genome and already people are asking, “What next?” And the answer would be: systems biology.
According to Dr. Leroy Hood, president of the the Institute of Systems Biology, systems biology is “the science of discovering, modeling, understanding and ultimately engineering at the molecular level the dynamic relationships between the biological molecules that define living organisms.” And over at new DNA Network member blog, The Seven Stones, Dr. George Church takes the leap from the “Jimome & Craigome” to systems biology. In The Personal Genome Project published in Molecular Systems Biology, Dr. Church said we need the following:
Focused population association studies
Functional genomics on the cells from the subjects
As an epidemiologst, I’m particularly interested in population association studies for which many study participants would be recruited to give a sample of their DNA, submit to a lifestyle survey, and commit to follow-ups. The UK Biobank and CARTaGEne in Quebec, Canada are two such examples (please see previous Eye on DNA post).
In parallel with genome mapping and sequencing, researchers in Europe believe it’s time to start working on a proteome map to delineate which specific genes are producing which specific proteins. Mapping the proteome is considerably more difficult than dealing with the genome because some proteins are present in almost undetectable amounts. It’s also very difficult to know if all proteins have been found if certain genes happen to be inactive at the time of assay.
Professor Rudolf Aebersold from the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology in Switzerland:
The idea would be that if we could map out the whole proteome, we could develop a toolbox structure enabling assays (for detecting proteins) to be done faster and more cheaply.
As you can see, the
work fun doesn’t stop with whole genome sequencing. In fact, it’s just begun.
Photo: Proteomics – protein separation from Wellcome Images under Creative Commons
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