Metabolomics is the scientific study of chemical processes involving metabolites, the small molecule substrates, intermediates and products of metabolism. Specifically, metabolomics is the "systematic study of the unique chemical fingerprints that specific cellular processes leave behind", the study of their small-molecule metabolite profiles. The metabolome represents the complete set of metabolites in a biological cell, tissue, organ or organism, which are the end products of cellular processes. mRNA gene expression
data and proteomic analyses reveal the set of gene products being produced in the cell, data that represents one aspect of cellular function. Conversely, metabolic profiling can give an instantaneous snapshot of the physiology of that cell, and thus, metabolomics provides a direct "functional readout of the physiological state" of an organism. One of the challenges of systems biology
and functional genomics
is to integrate genomics, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic information to provide a better understanding of cellular biology.
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