The term “omics” refers to a number of areas of study in biology, all of which end in the suffix -omics, indicating totality of some kind. The omics technologies aim at analysing complete genetic or molecular profiles (e.g. whole genomes) instead of focusing on single genes and molecules. This approach allows studying how complex interactions between genes and molecules influence the phenotype of living organisms, for example the disease symptoms in a patient.
With the development of high-throughput technologies, such as Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), the omics field is rapidly expanding and advancing scientific knowledge of the genome, proteins and metabolites – and particularly their influence on human disease.
There are several types of -omics:
- Genomics: Study of the genomes of organisms
- Functional genomics: Study of gene and protein functions and interactions
- Proteomics: Study of the proteome, the entire set of proteins produced by an organism
- Transcriptomics: Study of the transcriptome, the set of all RNA molecules, including mRNA, rRNA, tRNA, and other non-coding RNA produced in cells.
- Metabolomics: Study of chemical processes involving metabolites.
- Epigenomics: Study of the complete set of epigenetic modifications on the genetic material of a cell, known as the epigenome.
- Pharmacogenomics: Study of the effect of variations within the human genome on drugs.
- Interactomics: Study of both the interactions between proteins and other molecules within a cell, and the consequences of those interactions.