Proteomic research, for its part, is benefiting enormously from the last decade of genomic research as we now have archived, annotated and audited sequence databases to correlate and query experimental data. While the two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) gels are still a central part of proteomics, we reflect on the possibilities and realities of the current 2-DE technology with regard to displaying and analysing proteomes. Limitations of analysing whole cell/tissue lysates by 2-DE alone are discussed, and we investigate whether extremely narrow p/ranges (1 pH unit/25 cm) provide a solution to display comprehensive protein expression profiles. We are confronted with a challenging task: the dynamic range of protein expression. We believe that most of the existing technology is capable of displaying many more proteins than is currently achievable by integrating existing and new techniques to prefractionate samples prior to 2-DE display or analysis. The availability of a "proteomics toolbox", consisting of defined reagents, methods, and equipment, would assist a comprehensive analysis of defined biological systems.