What is Phenomics?

Throughout history, scientists and philosophers studied the workings of the human body, seeking remedies for sickness, injury, and the ailments of old age.

Today, we harness a formidable array of technologies to describe the many facets of human biology in exquisite detail, helping us to better understand both the mechanisms and the risks of disease.

Advances in genomics have enabled us to understand how the building blocks of DNA form the blueprint for a person’s phenotype – or internal biochemistry – and their predisposition to disease. However, this is only part of the story, as while your senses set the stage for your development, it is the manner in which your genes interact with the environment throughout your life that defines who you are now.

This study of the interaction of genes and the environment is called phenomics, and it represents the next step in expanding the boundaries of our knowledge of human health. Phenomics can help us to understand how our environment makes us more or less susceptible to a wide range of common diseases and how individuals react to therapies.

Expanding understanding

The phenome consists of all of the measurable physical and chemical characteristics of the human body. Its metabolic component, in particular, is highly diagnostic of individual’s disease risk, disease sub-classification and treatment response.

phenomics = genes+environment

Research tells us that an individual’s phenome is dynamic, changing in response to varying external influences such as food and food additives, drugs, toxins and pollutants. Lifestyle and environment, therefore, play an important role in determining a person’s phenome.

As we learn more about these interrelationships, our knowledge of physical characteristics and disease states is transformed, permitting significant advances in medical treatments, and enabling governments and medical authorities to address global public health in ways not previously foreseen.

World-leading scientists, science-driven companies and governments recognise the potential revolutionary impact of phenomics, which is why they came together to establish the National Phenome Centre (NPC).