Investigation into biological complexity, whether for a better understanding of disease or drug process, is a monumental task plaguing investigators. The lure of "omic" technologies for circumventing much of these challenges has led to widespread efforts and adoption. It is becoming clearer that a single "omic" approach (e.g., genomics) is often insufficient for completely defining the complexity in these biological systems. Hence, there is an increasing awareness that a "systems" approach will serve to increase resolution and confidence and provide a strong foundation for further hypothesis-driven investigation. Although certain metabolites are already considered clinically important, the profiling of metabolites via metabolomics (the profiling of metabolites to fully characterize metabolic pathways) is the most recent to mature of these "omic" technologies and has been only recently adopted as compared to genomic or proteomic approaches in systems inquiries. Recent reports suggest that this "omic" may well be a key data stream in systems investigations for endeavors in personalized medicine and biomarker identification, as it seems most closely relevant to the phenotype.
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.