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This is a blend of protein and genome. In the same way that the genome is the collective name for all the genetic material in the cell of a living organism, the proteome is the term for the complete set of the proteins produced from the instructions coded in that genetic material (expressed from it, in the jargon). Recent advances in automatic methods of assay are making it possible to list all the expressed proteins and so determine which ones are present in healthy tissue and which are characteristic of disease. It is expected that this will lead to new methods of diagnosis, and to the discovery of mechanisms by which diseases spread within the body. For example, a team at Oxford Glycosciences in the UK has found 47 proteins in synovial fluid which are unique to persons suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and this has led to the discovery of a previously unknown enzyme responsible for breaking down membranes in joints. The term is said to have been invented by Marc Wilkins and Keith Williams at the Macquarie University Center for Analytical Biotechnology in Australia.

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Page created 31 May 1997