Reading the Book of Life – Omics as a Universal Tool Across Disciplines

Book Chapter

Brüwer, Jan David
Buck-Wiese, Hagen

KAUST Department
Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division
Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)

Online Publication Date

Print Publication Date


In the last centuries, new high-throughput technologies, including sequencing and mass-spectrometry, have emerged and are constantly refurbished in order to decipher the molecular code of life. In this review, we summarize the physiological background from genes via transcriptome to proteins and metabolites and discuss the variety of dimensions in which a biological entity may be studied. Herein, we emphasize regulatory processes which underlie the plasticity of molecular profiles on different ome layers. We discuss the four major fields of omic research, namely genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics, by providing specific examples and case studies for (i) the assessment of functionality on molecular, organism, and community level; (ii) the possibility to use omic research for categorization and systematic efforts; and (iii) the evaluation of responses to environmental cues with a special focus on anthropogenic influences. Thereby, we exemplify the knowledge gains attributable to the integration of information from different omes and the enhanced precision in predicting the phenotype. Lastly, we highlight the advantages of combining multiple omics layers in assessing the complexity of natural systems as meta-communities and -organisms.

Brüwer JD, Buck-Wiese H (2018) Reading the Book of Life – Omics as a Universal Tool Across Disciplines. YOUMARES 8 – Oceans Across Boundaries: Learning from each other: 73–82. Available:

Universität Bremen
Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research

Springer Nature

YOUMARES 8 – Oceans Across Boundaries: Learning from each other


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