PROTEOME SAMPLER shows 1,458 yeast proteins (circles) and their 1,948 interactions (lines). Removing proteins has different effects on the yeast: lethal (red); nonlethal (green); slowed growth (orange); unknown (yellow).
Hawoong Jeong and his colleagues at the University of Notre Dame generated this map. Image: MACMILLAN MAGAZINES LTD., ¿ NATURE 2001
If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, then the proof that biology can be done on an industrial scale has been in the sequencing--the recent determination of the complete genome sequences of dozens of organisms, from viruses and bacteria to worms, flies, flowers and humans. Now biotech companies and their investors are betting that a similar souped-up, assembly-line approach can be applied to the new science of proteomics: an effort to catalogue which proteins our genes encode and to decipher how these proteins function to direct the behavior of a cell, an organ or a next-door neighbor.
The latest boast comes from researchers at Myriad Genetics in Salt Lake City, who in April announced that they plan to map the entire human proteome in less than three years. To do this, Myriad has spawned a subsidiary, called Myriad Proteomics, with Hitachi and Oracle, which will supply the hardware and the database software needed to handle the massive amount of information that will be generated by the project.
This article was originally published with the title The Post-Genome Project.