We enjoyed reading David Searls's essay "Omic Empiricism." As working scientists, we are constantly faced with the dilemma of when to use omics and when to go with more specific and sensitive methods. Our own bias is that we are using the wrong paradigm (an applications problem), when applying genomic data to biologic problems. This is particularly true when using data that do not take into account the cellular context—the cell is the smallest functional unit of biology, and, like the atom, it is the measure of all things. If we are to meet the challenge of omics, we must expand our purview beyond descriptive phenotypes in biology and medicine. We have previously suggested that by viewing data in a functional genomic, cell-molecular, evolutionary-developmental context, that the causal interrelationships between development, homeostasis, regeneration and disease become readily apparent and testable (1–3). So with all due respect to Dr. Searls, the problem is not one of philosophy but of how to effectively implement the biologic information to convert genes into phenotypes.
John S. Torday, MSc, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynecology Director, The Henry L. Guenther Laboratory for Cell/Molecular Research Director, Laboratory for Evolutionary Preventive Medicine Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Phone: (310) 222-8186, fax: (310) 222-3887 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://evolutionarymedicine.labiomed.org/
Virender K. Rehan, MD Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics Chief, Division of Neonatology Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Phone: (310) 222-1965, fax: (310) 222-3887 http://evolutionarymedicine.labiomed.org/
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