Background: With the rapid progress of various large scale sequencing and -omics technologies, molecular cytogenetics is entering a new era: Systems-integrated cytogenetics. Since the genome context rather than gene content defines the genome system by providing system inheritance, and genomic inheritance is less precise than we expected, the new cytogenetics will play an important role in advancing systems biology.
Objective: In this perspective, we briefly review some of the progress and limitations of the gene- or pathway- focused system approaches, including bioinformatics, and call for using the genome theory to integrate molecular cytogenetics and systems biology.
Method: By highlighting some recent developments from cytogenetics/cytogenomics and systems biology, we try to synthesize the new emergent field: systems-integrated cytogenetics.
Results: We explain why cytogenetics/cytogenomics needs a systems biology perspective, and what the major challenges and future directions are for the field of cytogenetics.
Conclusion: The future cytogenetics needs a new genome-based conceptual framework such as the genome theory. The integration of cytogenetics/cytogenomics with systems biology will mutually benefit both fields.