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The human genome

In crop agriculture, the main purpose of the application of genomics is to gain a better understanding of the whole genome of plants. Agronomically important genes may be identified and targeted to produce more nutritious and safe food while at the same time preserving the environment.

Genomics is an entry point for looking at the other ‘omics’ sciences. The information in the genes of an organism, its genotype, is largely responsible for the final physical makeup of the organism, referred to as the “phenotype”. However, the environment also has some influence on the phenotype.

DNA in the genome is only one aspect of the complex mechanism that keeps an organism running – so decoding the DNA is one step towards understanding the process. However, by itself, it does not specify everything that happens within the organism.

The basic flow of genetic information in a cell is as follows. The DNA is transcribed or copied into a form known as “RNA”. The complete set of RNA (also known as its transcriptome) is subject to some editing (cutting and pasting) to become messenger-RNA, which carries information to the ribosome, the protein factory of the cell, which then translates the message into protein.