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What is Omics: The Ultimate Guide

There are many sub branches of science that surface in the post-modern world. For instance, genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics are those in the 'Omics' group with a dynamic contribution to further science, helping humanity's health care, and improving the quality of life. Omics, another relevant field of study in biology, is, therefore, essential to learning.

What Is Omics?

Omics is an informal name given to different fields of study in biology associated with large-scale and rich data. There are various disciplines in biology, and the following are the popular sources of data and the essential highlights in those fields related to Omics: genome, exome, epigenome, transcriptome, microbiome, proteome, and metabolome. The suffix 'Omics' is added to these terms; for instance, genome plus 'omics' is genomics.


Genome is the comprehensive information of an organism because it contains data on genes and other genetic details. It uses deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequencing data sets. Genomics, therefore, is a branch of biological science that deals with studying the genome.



The exome highlights the protein-coding portions of genes known as exons. Like genomics, exomics relates to genome sequencing, mainly studying exome sequencing or exome's genome sequence. In other words, exomic generates data sets by linking its field of study to DNA and RNA sequencing data sets.


A living organism's cells express molecules such as messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA). These molecules' full detail or range is a transcriptome, and transcriptomics is the study linked to mRNA and its sequencing data sets.


The Greek word 'epi' means above, and epigenome means above the genome. Epigenome has chemical compounds that change or mark the genome with instructions on what to do, where, and when. There are diverging epigenetic marks across varied cells. Epigenomics, therefore, is the study of epigenetic markings of the cells.


The microbiome focuses on the genes of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, microscopic microbes containing DNA and RNA sequencing data sets. Microbiomics is the study of the collection of microbes and their genes.


Organisms produce proteins. Cells create an array of proteins at a particular time. The complete set of the production of these proteins is known as the proteome. Proteomics is the study of the full set of proteins that organisms express.


The molecules known as metabolites comprise the organism's cells, biofluids, and tissues. These metabolites interact with the biological system, and the interaction is known as metabolome. Metabolomics is the study of the biological interactions of an organism's metabolites.


When Did Omics Begin?

Biology, as the study of life, is a broad field of expertise, and it contains various matters of inquiry such as the genome, proteome, and metabolome. These are specific concerns of bio information and molecular biology and were coined initially by Bioinformaticians and Molecular Biologists.

The suffix 'ome' began in the early 1900s and started its popularity in the late quarter of the 19th century. By then, the suffix refers to wholeness or completion. Hence, the word genome would mean an organism's complete set of genetic information. Various fields of expertise were drawn to these subjects.

As time progressed, collective efforts of Bioinformaticians and Molecular Biologists came to fruition. This time, they needed to characterize and ensure the data measurement relevant to biological molecules, their roles, and functions in the natural science process of life. Thus, the one considered a genome expert would be classified as working in the field of genomics, which involves collective technologies to understand the wholeness of an organism's genetic information.

What Is The Importance of Omics?

Life is complex. The idea ends not only in understanding what cells are as the basic units of life but down to their complex integration resulting in tissues and organs. The complexity of life resulted in various experts focusing or specializing their understanding on specific biological subjects, from the essential molecules of life to other related subjects.

The specialization process resulted in a more focused and determined approach. Hence, various specializations ending with 'omics' surfaced and brought considerable significance to the human race.

For example, Omics, consisting of many focused fields for experts, provided the tools for humanity to learn more about human diseases. Specific understanding of human diseases led to an opportunity to develop new drugs and personalized medicines. Understanding techniques for measuring the composition of biochemical groups is a remarkable contribution of Omics to developing new drugs and advanced treatments.

In addition, Omics contributed to the progress of green biotechnology. The science associated with genome, proteome, and metabolome that Omics covered led experts to discover modern technologies for cost-effective environmental DNA and RNA sequencing. The implication of this advancement is vast, for it benefits other sciences and fields of expertise.

omics data integration impact

Introduction to Omics

One must learn essential and basic concepts in biology before understanding Omics. Below are a few important questions to consider.

What is the difference between genes and genetics?

In a simple definition, genes are the complex output of DNA, and they contain the basic heredity that a parent organism can pass to a child organism. Genetics, on the other hand, is the science of understanding genes and heredity. Genetics seeks to understand how genes, heredity, and a specific trait are passed from parent to offspring.

What is the difference between genome and genomics?

A genome is an organism's whole set of DNA, genes, and genetic structural configuration. As an interdisciplinary field of biological science, genomics is concerned with studying the genomes as objects of understanding for structure, function, evolution, mapping, and editing. Different areas work together to support genomics, including cognitive genomics, comparative genomics, functional genomics, metagenomics, neurogenomics, pangenomics, and personal genomics.

What is the difference between genomics and genetics?

Genetics is the parent and more formal field of genomics. According to the World Health Organization, the former studies a single gene while the latter addresses all genes, including their interrelationships. In other words, genomics got its theoretical ideas from genetics to thoroughly understand an organism's growth and development through its comprehensive genome exploration.

genomics vs genetics

Uses and Applications of Omics

There are promising applications of Omics, and below are some examples taken from the context of Botany and Zoology, Medicine, and Cellular and Molecular Biology.

Botany and Zoology

Botany is a branch of science that deals with the study of plants, which also contain essential molecules of life, cellular structure, and other biological functions. Plants are necessary for human survival and other life forms on earth. They provide oxygen as a requirement of life for other life forms. In addition, as the producer, plants play a critical role in the food chain and the balance in the ecosystem to ensure life. When humans decided on settlement, they began domesticating plants for their food source. The good thing about multiple approaches of Omics in crop science is crop quality improvement and safety (Yang et al., 2022; Cook and Nightingale, 2018). Imagine improving crop yield, pest and microbe resistance, and climate resistance. The data and other related information generated from various Omics can provide the information required to hit this goal.

Zoology, on the other hand, is another branch of science instituted to study the life of animals. Different animals contribute to the balance in the ecosystem. Omics help the science of identification and classification of animals (Raupach et al., 2016). However, more than that, other domesticated animals are sources of human foods for a growing population. Various omics can improve forage crops as vital for animal production (Bhat, 2013).



Even though medicine in the post-modern world is advanced, it still has to achieve its perfection. The idea of Omics and its data and information can fulfill the precision of medicine (Chen and Snyder, 2013). Not only that, but because not all medications are one-size-fits-all, the constant study with Omics aims to obtain a more advanced and personalized medicine (Maya and Kaminski, 2012). All of these achievements pertain to human medicine, but further explorations with Omics are also in line with veterinary medicine (Lv et al., 2015).


Cellular and Molecular Biology

Cells are the basic units of life. To have a more detailed comprehension of life, understanding its basic unit is the most logical approach as far as the reductionist view is concerned. Omics can provide data and relevant information to understand cell behavior at the molecular level (Karahalil, 2016). Understanding cell behavior is vital to help improve medicine, crop production, and the enhancement of the quality of life.

Furthermore, Omics find their way into molecular research (Escandon et al., 2021). Molecular research is a dynamic scientific activity in advancing and learning more about the molecular aspects of life. One promising implication of this effort is a more understanding of diseases such as cancer. Omics have become a modern and dynamic approach to learning molecular biology for understanding humanity's fight against cancers (Jung et al., 2021)

Cellular and Molecular Biology

Why Do We Need Omics?

Improving the quality of life is the broadest essence relevant to the study and implementation of Omics. Omics analysis and Omics techniques paved the way for the achievement of this goal.

What is Omics Analysis?

The use of technology is relevant to Omics Analysis. Molecular entities of life not visible from the naked eye are now possible for analysis due to the use of technology associated with Omics Analysis. The good thing about this modern development is the linked capability of humans to analyze the molecular level of life. Understanding this level of life proves to be a powerful tool for humanity to understand more about diseases, medicine, biotechnology, and the quality of human life and other life forms.

What are Omics Techniques?

Omics analysis is the basis of Omics techniques, the combined approach or merging of possible technologies, data, and information available from the specific interdisciplinary fields of Omics. This is a way of saying that every area of Omics can provide meaningful contributions, just like a piece to form the whole puzzle.

Humanity is in constant search of knowledge and a meaningful understanding of life. The actual proof of that cerebral pursuit is the continuing search for how to improve the quality of life. The quality of life brings many issues or concerns. The common problems are the prevailing need to address human health, food production, the balance of nature, climate change, and more. The inception of Omics is vital to realizing humanity's goal.


Chen R, Snyder M. Promise of personalized omics to precision medicine. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Syst Biol Med. 2013 Jan-Feb;5(1):73-82. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.1198. Epub 2012 Nov 26. PMID: 23184638; PMCID: PMC4154620.

Committee on the Review of Omics-Based Tests for Predicting Patient Outcomes in Clinical Trials; Board on Health Care Services; Board on Health Sciences Policy; Institute of Medicine; Micheel CM, Nass SJ, Omenn GS, editors. Evolution of Translational Omics: Lessons Learned and the Path Forward. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2012 Mar 23. 1, Introduction.

Cook, Peter & Nightingale, Kendra. (2018). Use of omics methods for the advancement of food quality and food safety. Animal Frontiers. 8. 33-41. 10.1093/af/vfy024.

Escandón M, Castillejo MÁ, Jorrín-Novo JV, Rey M-D. Molecular Research on Stress Responses in Quercus spp.: From Classical Biochemistry to Systems Biology through Omics Analysis. Forests. 2021; 12(3):364.

Herazo-Maya JD, Kaminski N. Personalized medicine: applying 'omics' to lung fibrosis. Biomark Med. 2012 Aug;6(4):529-40. doi: 10.2217/bmm.12.38. PMID: 22917154; PMCID: PMC3517740.

Jung SY, Papp JC, Pellegrini M, Yu H, Sobel EM. Molecular Biology Networks and Key Gene Regulators for Inflammatory Biomarkers Shared by Breast Cancer Development: Multi-Omics Systems Analysis. Biomolecules. 2021; 11(9):1379.

Karahalil B. Overview of Systems Biology and Omics Technologies. Curr Med Chem. 2016;23(37):4221-4230. doi: 10.2174/0929867323666160926150617. PMID: 27686657.

Lv Y, Guan W, Qiao H, Wang C, Chen F, Zhang Y, Liao Z. Veterinary Medicine and Omics (Veterinomics): Metabolic Transition of Milk Triacylglycerol Synthesis in Sows from Late Pregnancy to Lactation. OMICS. 2015 Oct;19(10):602-16. doi: 10.1089/omi.2015.0102. PMID: 26484979.

Raupach, Michael & Amann, Rudolf & Wheeler, Quentin & Roos, Christian. (2016). The application of “omics”-technologies for the classification and identification of animals. Organisms Diversity & Evolution. 16. 1-12. 10.1007/s13127-015-0234-6.

Yang Y, Saand MA, Huang L, et al. Applications of multi-omics technologies for crop improvement. Frontiers.

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