Genomic Solutions' ProGest Digestion Station
Proteomics is just beginning to reach its potential as a major research tool. Although genomics has dominated the front pages of scientific journals and mainstream media outlets, researchers are quietly discussing the limitations of DNA and molecular biology in describing the behavior of proteins. Keith Ashman, senior research scientist at EMBL in Germany, believes that DNA-based research tools are going to naturally evolve into proteomics. "Genomics is just a linear interpretation of a protein. A gene doesn't describe how the protein interacts in a three-dimensional (3-D) environment," explains Ashman.

In the early '90s, protein identification became much easier with advances in mass spectrometry. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) spectrometry and electrospray ionization tandem quadrupole (ESI/MS/MS) are two techniques that have allowed researchers to accurately identify the peptide components of a protein. "Advances in mass spectrometry have allowed proteomics to grow," comments Ashman.


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