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J Nat Prod. 2005 Dec;68(12):1813-20.

Metabolomics reviewed: a new "omics" platform technology for systems biology and implications for natural products research.

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Environmental Health and Chemistry, Department of Primary Industries, Primary Industries Research Victoria--Werribee Centre, Victoria, Australia.


Metabolomics is the study of global metabolite profiles in a system (cell, tissue, or organism) under a given set of conditions. The analysis of the metabolome is particularly challenging due to the diverse chemical nature of metabolites. Metabolites are the result of the interaction of the system's genome with its environment and are not merely the end product of gene expression but also form part of the regulatory system in an integrated manner. Metabolomics has its roots in early metabolite profiling studies but is now a rapidly expanding area of scientific research in its own right. Metabolomics (or metabonomics) has been labeled one of the new "omics", joining genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics as a science employed toward the understanding of global systems biology. Metabolomics is fast becoming one of the platform sciences of the "omics", with the majority of the papers in this field having been published only in the last two years. In this review metabolomic methodologies are discussed briefly followed by a more detailed review of the use of metabolomics in integrated applications where metabolomics information has been combined with other "omic" data sets (proteomics, transcriptomics) to enable greater understanding of a biological system. The potential of metabolomics for natural product drug discovery and functional food analysis, primarily as incorporated into broader "omic" data sets, is discussed.

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