“Omics” basically just studies that give you lots of quantitative data (measurements) characterizing *everything* that’s present in a sample. They typically use high-throughput techniques so you can get lots of data w/out “too” much work, but a lot of data requires lots of computational work to try to make sense of it! 

some common terms you might see…

  • genomics – looks at DNA
    • sequences, function, organization etc.
    • epigenomics – looks at methylation, acetylation, etc.
    • metagenomics – looks at environmental samples 
  • transcriptomics – looks at transcription (e.g. w/RNA-seq to measure mRNA levels)
  • proteomics – looks at proteins (typically w/mass spec)
    • phosphoproteomics – looks at phosphorylation
  • metabolomics – looks at metabolites (measures small biochemical molecules)
    • usually w/mass spec
    • these small molecules can be
      • precursors or building blocks for reactions (sugars, lipids etc.)
        • including modified forms
      • molecules formed as intermediates or breakdown products from biochemical processes
      • signalling molecules (hormones, etc.)

Those are just a taste of various kinds of things you can look for. There are a lot more! Mainly involving variations on those. 

And most of the omics stuff can be done at different “levels” including

  • meta – environmental samples
  • single cell (often abbreviated sc)
  • spatial – looking at where things happen within a tissue or cell, etc. (e.g. looking at which cells in a tissue things are being transcribed in)
    • often involves fluorescence!


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