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Mass Spectrom Rev. 2008 Nov-Dec;27(6):635-60. doi: 10.1002/mas.20182.

Mass spectrometry in systems biology: an overview.

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  • 1The Key Laboratory of Biomedical Photonics of MOE, Department of Systems Biology, College of Life Science and Technology, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China.


As an emerging field, systems biology is currently the talk of the town, which challenges our philosophy in comprehending biology. Instead of the reduction approach advocated in molecular biology, systems biology aims at systems-level understanding of correlations among molecular components. Such comprehensive investigation requires massive information from the "omics" cascade demanding high-throughput screening techniques. Being one of the most versatile analytical methods, mass spectrometry has already been playing a significant role at this early stage of systems biology. In this review, we documented the advances in modern mass spectrometry technologies as well as nascent inventions. Recent applications of mass spectrometry-based techniques and methodologies in genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics and metabolomics will be further elaborated individually. Undoubtedly, more applications of mass spectrometry in systems biology can be expected in the near future.

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