Friday, November 05, 2010

Good omics word of the day: transcriptomics

As many of you know, I spend a lot of time bashing #badomics words.  Some have asked if I just hate all omics words.  And the answer is no.  First, I am only annoyed by words that use "omics" or "ome" in the sense of "genomics" or "genome".  Thus words that use the "ome" suffix in the sense of a cellular complex (e.g., ribosome, proteosome, etc) are not on my radar.  And words that use "omics" in the sense of "economics" (e.g., Obamanomics") are not my concern either.  My problem is those that in essence are latching onto "genomics" excessively.

And on twitter as well as in my blog I have bashed many such #badomics words including vaccinomics, waveomics, adversomics, bibliome, epitheliome, nutriome, transactome, N-terminome, miRNAome, modomics, tRNomics, variome, Speechome, connectome, negatome, material degradomics, and many more.  I even give out two types of awards here in this regard: Worst New Omics Word Award and bad omics word of the day.  And alas, I am sure I will give out more.

But today I thought it might be useful to be positive.  And thus I am going to discuss what I view as a good omics word.  Not great mind you.  But pretty good.  And this is "transcriptomics" and its relative "transcriptome".  Both of these are pretty good words.

From Wikipedia here is the definition of transcriptome
The transcriptome is the set of all RNA molecules, including mRNA, rRNA, tRNA, and other non-coding RNA produced in one or a population of cells. The term can be applied to the total set of transcripts in a given organism, or to the specific subset of transcripts present in a particular cell type. 
This seems to be a perfectly reasonable and useful use of the "ome" suffix.  It is genomic in scale (i.e., all RNA in the cell - not like many badomics words which are too specific).  And it is broad in that it can be used to refer to all the RNA in an organism or cell or such.  The first use I have found is from this paper on yeast in 1997.    But there may be earlier examples.

Anyway - trying to be positive today.  And transcriptome to me is a good omics word.  


  1. How about 'glycomics' and 'lipidomics'? Both seem to satisfy your criterion. But both are outside the protein/nucleic acid pool one usually associates these -omics words with.

  2. Proteomics is all well and good. I have some minor personal issues with metagenomics, but it's fine and is well past the tipping point.

    But, metaproteogenomics?

  3. How about Copenhagenomics? Surely the folks at CLCbio are trolling with that one ...

  4. tweeted about that one guy but have not written it up here ...