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Trends Mol Med. 2001 Nov;7(11):494-501.

Taking a functional genomics approach in molecular medicine.

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Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Ihnestrasse 73, D-14195, Berlin, Germany.


The elucidation of genetic components of human diseases at the molecular level provides crucial information for developing future causal therapeutic intervention. High-throughput genome sequencing and systematic experimental approaches are fuelling strategic programs designed to investigate gene function at the biochemical, cellular and organism levels. Bioinformatics is one important tool in functional genomics, although showing clear limitations in predicting ab initio gene structures, gene function and protein folds from raw sequence data. Systematic large-scale data-set generation, using the same type of experiments that are used to decipher the function of single genes, are being applied on entire genomes. Comparative genomics, establishment of gene catalogues, and investigation of cellular and tissue molecular profiles are providing essential tools for understanding gene function in complex biological networks.

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