Determination of the cell types/ tissues in which a gene is expressed as well as when the development stage or the external stimulus, the gene is expressed is called expression profiling. Functional genomics aims to study the expression pattern of all the genes present in the genome at the same time; this is called global expression profiling, which is done either at RNA or protein level. At the RNA level, one could use either direct sequence sampling or DNA arrays. At the protein level, one may use either two-dimensional electrophoresis, followed by mass spectrometry or protein array. Global expression profiling provides insights into complex biological phenomenon, including differentiation, response to stress, onset of a disease, etc. it also provides a new way to define cellular phenotypes; this, in turn, could reveal novel drug targets and help develop more effective drugs.
The full complement of RNA molecules produced by the genome is usually, referred to as transcriptome. In case of eukaryotes, a single gene can produce more than one type of mature MRNA by a phenomenon known as alternative splicing.
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