Now Available: The Omeome

Ralf Neumann has interpreted my fascination with -omics as distaste for neologisms:

A blogger named “RPM” reacted even more drastically to the methylome-paper on his weblog “evolgen” (http://scienceblogs.com/evolgen) in a post entitled “Yet Another ‘-ome’”. “We can thank Andrew Feinberg for introducing the term methylome, which he defines as ‘a neologism that describes the complete set of DNA methylation modifications of a cell’. Check out this definition of neologism: ‘A meaningless word used by a psychotic.’ Exactly. Enough with the -ome already.” It seems as if more and more researchers are getting cheesed off with their “collegue-omes”.

I guess it’s true that sarcasm does not translate well to the written word. Allow myself to clarify myself: I find the use of -omics suffixes interesting. I wouldn’t characterize my reaction as drastic, but rather intrigued. A clever neologism can be a joy to stumble upon. Attaching -ome to the end of the name of your favorite molecule, cellular process, or chemical reaction is not clever. The -ome market as been saturated, yet people still continue to generate new omics. I wonder why?

Alright, so maybe I am a bit peeved.

Also, Ralf links to the -Omes and -omics glossary, which is an excellent resource for those of you interested in seeing what happens when scientists get a bit overzealous in hyping their research niche. Oops! There I go being negative again.


  1. #1 postblogger
    October 13, 2006

    Nah, tossers, all of ‘em. Omics, schmomics. And the thing that really gets my goat is the way that measuring 2 or 3 metabolites using an enzyme assay is sneered at for being classical grind and find reductionism, but measuring 20 using GC-MS (out of, ooo, I dunno, 100s to 1000s present in a cell) is suddenly metabolomics or systems biology. No, you pillocks, you’re still missing >95% of what’s in there.

    And I speak from bitter experience…