Uncharacterized/hypothetical proteins in biomedical 'omics' experiments: Is novelty being swept under the carpet?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Many 'omics' studies, gene expression microarray experiments in particular, aim at charting the molecular mechanisms of physiology, disease and drug response. This short review discusses the bias present in many such studies whereas the focus is set on the well understood and established molecular scenarios. The under-reporting rate of 'hypothetical' or uncharacterized genes and proteins, differentially regulated in disease context, is assessed here. Reasons for this bias are discussed. Particular examples from the genomics studies on respiratory diseases are presented. This review aims at increasing awareness of the unexplored genomics data and proposes remedies in order to refocus genomics studies on the less-charted territories of the genome, transcriptome and proteome. It is suggested that routine use of function prediction methods in conjunction with omics analyses may allow better interpretation of the data, and facilitate discovery of true novelty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-290
Number of pages8
JournalBriefings in Functional Genomics and Proteomics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomedicine
  • Function prediction
  • Gene expression analysis
  • Hypothetical proteins
  • Uncharacterized genes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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