While our understanding of gene-based biology has greatly improved, it is clear that the function of the genome and most diseases cannot be fully explained by genes and other regulatory elements. Genes and the genome represent distinct levels of genetic organization with their own coding systems; Genes code parts like protein and RNA, but the genome codes the structure of genetic networks, which are defined by the whole set of genes, chromosomes and their topological interactions within a cell. Accordingly, the genetic code of DNA offers limited understanding of genome functions. In this perspective, we introduce the genome theory which calls for the departure of gene-centric genomic research. To make this transition for the next phase of genomic research, it is essential to acknowledge the importance of new genome-based biological concepts and to establish new technology platforms to decode the genome beyond sequencing.
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