Chapter 26 : From Genetics to Genomics

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While Barry's career has focused on the analysis of genomes, that mantra still rings in his head, and he has found that what is true for genetics is also true for genomics. The link between genotype and phenotype provided the framework for most genetics research prior to the genomics era. Biology and most sciences develop in a standard technology arc: description, simple testing, complex testing, and finally full-scale implementation. The first papers in the genomics field described the basic attributes of the technology and genome architecture. Microbiology is currently undergoing a revolution brought on by large-scale sequencing technology and the reality of dauntingly large data sets. Just 4 years after the genome was sequenced, forward-thinking biologists like Lee Hartwell began proposing a new paradigm, initially called “modular biology,” for genomics research. These ideas and frameworks have since launched the fields of systems biology, synthetic biology, and functional genomics. Much like the early genome papers in the mid-1990s, the earliest metagenomics papers also reported on our ability to sequence and make sense of environmental metagenomes. As a result, comparative metagenomics approaches may be the most fruitful approaches for analyzing such data sets. The authors also believe that only by studying the full continuum of metabolic and ecological interactions in a niche, and their reflection in the total genetic complement of all organisms of that niche (what we call the “nicheome”), can we understand the forces shaping microbial evolution.

Citation: Suen G, Aylward F, Slater S, Goldman B. 2011. From Genetics to Genomics, p 257-266. In Maloy S, Hughes K, Casadesús J (ed), The Lure of Bacterial Genetics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816810.ch26
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