Image via Wikipedia
With the availability of whole genome sequences, research attention shifts from gene sequences and genome content to protein functions and systems biology. Genes comprise a major component of the ‘parts list’ that is required for building and maintaining of living organisms. Genome DNA sequences reveal the genetic inventory for a rapidly increasing number of species. Defining and interpreting the instruction manual for protein functions, individually and collectively, is the emerging challenge.Defining protein functions is a complex problem because each gene typically encodes several distinct proteins. As a result, the protein inventory includes as many as 100,000 distinct proteins. Protein functions can vary with developmental stage, anatomical location, and environmental context. Like the problem of sequencing the human genome, the multidimensional nature of protein functions in time, space and context constitutes one of the ‘big’ problems in biomedical research. Resolving this problem is key to revolutionizing health care where a deep understanding of complex biological systems will lead to more powerful and specific ways to treat, and perhaps, even prevent birth defects and adult diseases.
Rodos Palace Conference Center, Ixia, Rhodes, Greece
June 10-15, 2012