DOC 042 : Genomics, transcript profiling (transcriptomics), proteomics and metabonomics (GTMP). An introduction | April 2001
Genomics, transcript profiling (transcriptomics), proteomics and metabonomics (GTMP) are rapidly developing technologies that enable researchers to study and describe biological events at the level of genetic material (genomics) and its expression in organisms. Expression can be studied at the stage of transfer of genetic information (transcriptomics), at the stage of formation of proteins (proteomics), and by determining the metabolites resulting from the activities of those proteins (metabonomics). Most of the techniques themselves are not new, but can now be applied in such a way that massive amounts of data can be generated, characterising changes in the presence and amounts of potentially thousands of biomolecules simultaneously. GTPM offers exciting possibilities for research in biology, pharmacology and toxicology and various economically interesting applications in industry are already under development or even actively employed. There is, on the other hand, the real danger that indiscriminate application of these technologies will lead to the generation of misleading data. Furthermore, the current (relative) lack of reference data could easily lead to mis- or over-interpretation and subsequently to undue concern by regulatory agencies. Therefore, there is an urgent need for the chemical industry as a whole to collaborate with academia and regulators in the development and sharing of such reference data sets. This will help to ensure that the new technologies are wisely applied and that agreement is reached on the appropriate interpretation of the data that they generate.