What is Genomics?

 Image courtesy of

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What is a genome? [1]

The genome, a combination of the words “gene” and “chromosome,” is the complete set of hereditary instructions in each cell of every living thing that are needed by the organism for its development and functioning. It is similar to an instruction manual on how cells work.

The genome is a set of genetic materials:

  • Our genome > The book

  • Our chromosomes > The chapters of the book

  • Our genes > The sentences in the book

  • Our DNA > The letters forming the words and sentences

  • A mutation > A typographical error

What is genomics? [2]

Genomics is the science that aims to decipher and understand the entire genetic information of an organism (i.e. plants, animals, humans, viruses and microorganisms) encoded in DNA and corresponding complements such as RNA, proteins and metabolites. More specifically, it refers to the analysis of the genomes of organisms, both anatomically (sequences and organization) and physiologically (expression and regulation).

Broadly speaking, this definition includes related disciplines such as bioinformatics, epigenomics, metabolomics, nutrigenomics, pharmacogenomics, proteomics and transcriptomics.

The knowledge and innovations emerging from this field are finding solutions to complex biological challenges including applications for health, forestry, fisheries & aquaculture, mining & energy and agri-foods, while at the same time raising question of societal and economic importance. 


[1] Genome Quebec
[2] Genome British Columbia