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Glycomics


Glycomics, or glycobiology is a discipline of biology that deals with the structure and function of oligosaccharides (chains of sugars). The term glycomics is derived from the chemical prefix for sweetness or a sugar, "glyco-", and was formed to follow the naming convention established by genomics (which deals with genes) and proteomics (which deals with proteins). The identity of the entirety of carbohydrates in an organism is thus collectively referred to as the glycome.

This area of research has to deal with an inherent level of complexity not seen in other areas of applied biology. Whereas genes have four building blocks and proteins have 20, the saccharides have a multitude of building blocks. Advances in glycomics are anticipated to be driven by improvements in molecular sequencing and bioinformatics, which is the computational organization and processing of sequence data.

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