Biotechnology Programme

Genomics Core Unit

Head of Unit:  Orlando Domínguez
Overview

Genomics is the discipline that studies the structure and dynamics of the genome, its features, its regulation and expression. The genome is the core of life, the ensemble of the genetic material that conserves the assembly instructions of the species. Each cell in an individual keeps a copy of it deep in its nucleus. Chemically made of linear DNA macromolecules and distributed into chromosomes, it is packed with and interpreted by a myriad of protein cohorts acting in concert. It is expressed into RNA transcripts; some are functional in and of themselves, and others, constitute an intermediate step leading to the functional proteins that govern the cell. While less than a 2% fraction of a mammalian genome codes for protein, a vast majority of it (80%) has been found to participate in biochemical events. The genome is not immutable, it can suffer alterations. A chance for biological evolution or for damage. In fact, cancer derives from the accumulation of such alterations. Cells with a damaged genome can transform and develop into a tumour. The field of Genomics sheds light on this world of complexity.