Background: The postgenomic era is featured by massive data collection and analyses
from various large scale-omics studies. Despite the promising capability of systems biology and bioinformatics
to handle large data sets, data interpretation, especially the translation of -omics data into
clinical implications, has been challenging.
Discussion: In this perspective, some important conceptual and technological limitations of current systems
biology are discussed in the context of the ultimate importance of the genome beyond the collection
of all genes. Following a brief summary of the contributions of molecular cytogenetics/cytogenomics in
the pre- and post-genomic eras, new challenges for postgenomic research are discussed. Such discussion
leads to a call to search for a new conceptual framework and holistic methodologies.
Conclusion: Throughout this synthesis, the genome theory of somatic cell evolution is highlighted in
contrast to gene theory, which ignores the karyotype-mediated higher level of genetic information.
Since “system inheritance” is defined by the genome context (gene content and genomic topology)
while “parts inheritance” is defined by genes/epigenes, molecular cytogenetics and cytogenomics
(which directly study genome structure, function, alteration and evolution) will play important roles in
this postgenomic era.