The problems we face today in public health as a result of the - fortunately - increasing age of people and the requirements of developing countries create an urgent need for new and innovative approaches in medicine and in agronomics. Genomic and functional genomic approaches have a great potential to at least partially solve these problems in the future. Important progress has been made by procedures to decode genomic information of humans, but also of other key organisms. The basic comprehension of genomic information (and its transfer) should now give us the possibility to pursue the next important step in life science eventually leading to a basic understanding of biological information flow; the elucidation of the function of all genes and correlative products encoded in the genome, as well as the discovery of their interactions in a molecular context and the response to environmental factors. As a result of the sequencing projects, we are now able to ask important questions about sequence variation and can start to comprehensively study the function of expressed genes on different levels such as RNA, protein or the cell in a systematic context including underlying networks. In this article we review and comment on current trends in large-scale systematic biological research. A particular emphasis is put on technology developments that can provide means to accomplish the tasks of future lines of functional genomics.
Keywords: Functional genomics, genotyping, expression analysis, proteomics, RNAi, cell, microarray
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