I believe that to understand what the omics sciences are it is first of all necessary to understand that any living organism is made up of cells within which there is a disproportionate set of molecules that interact with each other, through biochemical processes, and which define the functioning and nature of this. Therefore, to better understand a living organism, it is necessary to study the interactions and the main molecules that play a key role in its life. This is where the omics sciences come into play. In fact these are a set of disciplines that exploit very sophisticated analysis techniques in order to retrieve data, and therefore information, relating to the main molecules of the organism in order to study its functioning in a broader and more complete way.
Since the molecules that play a key role in the biology of the individual are different, the existing omics sciences are different, in fact we have:
- Genomics. That omics discipline that studies the structure and composition of the entire DNA of an organism as well as the information contained in the genetic code, or the succession of nitrogenous bases that we find in DNA.
- Transcriptomics. The omics science that studies the transcription of DNA into RNA and therefore the activity of the genes of an organism, or gene expression.
- Proteomics. The omics discipline that deals with the localization and quantification of each protein of the organism within the cell as well as the post-translational modifications undergone by proteins, and substrate-protein, protein-protein, nucleic acid-protein interactions.
- Metabolomics. That omics science that studies the quantity of low molecular weight metabolites in the cell, tissue, organ or the whole organism. It also deals with the variation of the molecular levels of these metabolites in relation to certain physiological and environmental stimuli.
- Epigenomics. The omics discipline that studies the set of epigenetic modifications found in the genome of an organism as well as their variation in relation to external and internal stimuli. Finally, epigenomics also studies the heritability of epigenetic modifications of DNA over the generations.
- Metagenomics. That omics discipline involved in the study of microbial communities in their natural environment in order to understand their response to external stimuli and their interactions with other organisms living in the same environment.
I hope you now have a clear understanding of what omics is. Obviously, to perform these studies, the manipulation and analysis of the data obtained from the study of the organism is fundamental and therefore numerous bioinformatics tools are widely used in order to draw conclusions relating to its functioning.
Bye and see you soon.