"Ome," the Sound of the Scientific Universe Expanding

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At www.nytimes.com

The age of 'omes' is here. It began with the genome, continued with the proteome, branched out with the memome and reached full flowering with the notion of the omome. This probably sounds like raw material for nonsense poetry, but it's a real biological and linguistic trend that makes sense, once you get the idea of just what an 'ome' is... Despite the humor in speculative omification, he said, the proliferation of real omic disciplines marked the spread of a 'very important scientific idea.' He said, 'All the omes derive to some extent from the genome,' and key to all of them is that an ome represents 'the entirety of the thing being studied'... And as they pursued this 'omic idea,' the focus of biological research shifted in the direction of studying complete systems and networks, rather than individual parts, discrete genes or proteins.

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At www.nytimes.com



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