How Genomics and Proteomics Help Biology


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Campbell Biology

Due to advances in technology and information processing, nucleotide sequencing and the analysis of large sets of genes and proteins can be done inexpensively and quickly. Both genomics and proteomics have helped advancing our knowledge in biology across many various fields.

Paleontology: New DNA sequencing techniques have allowed decoding of minute quantities of DNA found in ancient tissues from our extinct relatives, the Neanderthals. Sequencing the Neanderthal genome has informed our understanding of their physical appearance, as well as their relationship with modern humans.

Medical Science: Identifying the genetic basis for human diseases like cancer helps researchers focus their search for potential future treatments. Currently, sequencing the sets of genes expressed in an individual’s tumor can allow a more targeted approach to treating the cancer, a type of “personalized medicine.”

Evolution: A major aim of evolutionary biology is to understand the relationships among species, both living and extinct. For example, genome sequence comparisons have identified the hippopotamus as the land mammal sharing the most recent common ancestor with whales.

Conservation Biology: The tools of molecular genetics and genomics are increasingly used by forensic ecologists to identify which species of animals and plants are killed illegally. In one case, genomic sequences of DNA from illegal shipments of elephant tusks were used to track down poachers and pinpoint the territory where they were operating.

Species Interactions: Most plant species exist in a mutually beneficial partnership with fungi and bacteria associated with the plants’ roots; these interactions improve plant growth. Genome sequencing and analysis of gene expression have allowed characterization of plant-associated communities. Such studies will help advance our understanding of such interactions and may improve agricultural practices.

Source:

Urry, Lisa A.. Campbell Biology (p. 88). Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.

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