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Trends Biotechnol. 2005 Nov;23(11):544-6. Epub 2005 Sep 12.

The next wave in metabolome analysis.

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Center for Microbial Biotechnology, BioCentrum-DTU, Technical University of Denmark, DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark.


The metabolome of a cell represents the amplification and integration of signals from other functional genomic levels, such as the transcriptome and the proteome. Although this makes metabolomics a useful tool for the high-throughput analysis of phenotypes, the lack of a direct connection to the genome makes it difficult to interpret metabolomic data. Nevertheless, functional genomics has produced examples of the use of metabolomics to elucidate the phenotypes of otherwise silent mutations. Despite several successes, we believe that future metabolomic studies must focus on the accurate measurement of the concentrations of unambiguously identified metabolites. The research community must develop databases of metabolite concentrations in cells that are grown in several well-defined conditions if metabolomic data are to be integrated meaningfully with data from the other levels of functional-genomic analysis and to make a significant contribution to systems biology.

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