Omics encompasses research fields that use data-intensive methods to map genes, proteins and small molecules, their interactions and their regulation with the ultimate aim of understanding complex biology and disease processes. Traditionally, genes and proteins have been analysed individually, but with the emergence of Omics technologies capable of measuring gene sequence variation, expression and other biomarkers on a global scale this is now the era of high-dimensional biology. Omics naturally leads to big data and navigating and analysing the resulting information deluge is a key challenge for the research community requiring sophisticated bioinformatics, data-science and statistical expertise.
Some of the technologies that have attained a level of maturity in the Omics arena are listed below.
•Genomics - the systematic study of an organism's genome and differences in DNA sequence between individuals
•Proteomics - the study of all expressed proteins in a cell, tissue or organism and aims to characterise information flow within the cell and the organism, through protein pathways and networks. The proteome is a dynamic reflection of both genes and the environment and is thought to hold special promise for biomarker discovery.
•Metabolomics - the study of global metabolite profiles in a cell, tissue or organism. The metabolome is the final downstream product of gene transcription and is closest to the phenotype of the biological system studied.
•Transcriptomics - the study of the transcriptome—the complete set of RNA transcripts that are produced by the genome, under specific circumstances or in a specific cell—using high-throughput methods, such as microarray analysis.
•Glycomics - the study of the structure and function of carbohydrates (sugars) in biological systems
•Lipidomics - the study of cellular lipids
The Omics theme is an evolving and growing collaboration of researchers who use Omics technologies in their research, with the aim to share methods and solutions across themes, assist new researchers into the Omics arena and facilitate the development of an interdisciplinary environment to accelerate discovery science into clinical applications.