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Genomics is the part of genetics which studies the genomes of organisms. This includes the entire DNA sequence of organisms and fine-scale genetic mapping. The field also includes studies of genes working together.[1] Examples are heterosis, epistasis, pleiotropy and other interactions between loci and alleles within the genome.

Genomics applies recombinant DNA, DNA sequencing methods, and bioinformatics to sequence, assemble, and analyze the function and structure of genomes. This is the complete set of DNA within a single cell of an organism).[2][3] In contrast, the investigation of the roles and functions of single genes is a primary focus of molecular biology or genetics and is a common topic of modern medical and biological research. Research of single genes unless it involves the entire genome.[4][5]

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has a somewhat broader definition:

"The term "genomics" encompasses a broader scope of scientific inquiry associated technologies than when genomics was initially considered. A genome is the sum total of all an individual organism's genes. Thus, genomics is the study of all the genes of a cell, or tissue, at the DNA (genotype), mRNA (transcriptome), or protein (proteome) levels".[6]


  1. National Human Genome Research Institute 2010. A brief guide to genomics. Genetics vs. Genomics Fact Sheet | NHGRI.
  2. Klug, William S. et al 2011. Concepts of genetics. 10th ed, Cummings. ISBN 978-0-321-72412-0
  3. National Human Genome Research Institute 2010. FAQ about genetic and genomic science. Genetics vs. Genomics Fact Sheet | NHGRI
  4. Culver, Kenneth W. & Mark A. Labow 2002. Genomics. In Richard Robinson (ed) Genetics. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-02-865606-9
  5. EPA Interim genomics policy
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