Genomics is a particular field of biology that investigates the structure of the human genome. Also, it looks at what critical biological functions are carried by our genome, as well as what genes can be inherited from parents to their children. More precisely, genomics focus on defining specific sequences that create human or non-human DNA.
Sequencing The Genome
To understand the DNA sequence of human species, genomics is primarily working with chromosomes. Chromosomes are essential because they carry vital (quite literally) information about a living organism, known as genes.
This is not an easy task, as the human genome contains 23 different pairs of chromosomes (unless there are disorders, like multiplying of the 21st chromosome that causes the Down syndrome). Those 23 pairs contain around 24,000 different genes. We know more and more about genes every year, and it is all thanks to genomics. Understanding genes, and how they vary when put in different environments is vital for us, as a species.
Virus Genome Sequence: Done!
In the 1970s, one man started sequencing a genome of a virus. Fred Sanger could technically be viewed as a pioneer of genomics, and the first person who successfully completed a genome sequence. However, the term genomics was first used by a geneticist called Tom Roderick. In 1986, while he was working on the mapping of the human genome in Jackson Laboratory in Maine, Roderick coined the term genomics.
What made genomics possible as a scientific field is the advancements in technology, which made it possible to extract just shorter parts of the DNA sequence. If this were not the case, genomics would have to deal with billions of different ‘’lines’’ of DNA code, which would make the whole process of understanding the human genome too slow of a process.
Impact Of Genomics
Today, genomics is very explicitly defined by the USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency), which describes this discipline as an interdisciplinary field where genes are studied through DNA, mRNA, and different experiments with cells and tissue. This is where genomics differ from molecular biology, as that field focuses primarily on finding out the roles and functions of a single gene.
Genomics is useful for different types of science, and the findings that come out from deciphering the human DNA are beneficial for anthropology, biotechnology. At the same time, its use in medicine are almost limitless. The genomics is so potent and raises essential questions all the time; the field itself has already been divided into three different categories. Epigenomics deal with modifications to the DNA, transcriptomics study the RNA’s cellular content, and proteomics focus solely on proteins that make a specific cell.
All of these can be viewed as equally important, because the more we know about the structure of the human genome, the more we understand how to deal with problems, meaning diseases and gene disorders. Also, understanding how our organisms react to drugs is crucial in creating more efficient types of medicines that will not harm our genome in any way.
Who proposed the term genomics?
The term genomics was first proposed by a geneticist Tom Roderick in 1986.
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