Bioinformatics Approaches to Integrate Metabolomics and Other Systems Biology Data

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5 Conclusion

In this chapter we have addressed some of the bioinformatic issues related to metabolomics and its integration within the systems biology framework. We believe that metabolite, transcript, and protein analyses are much more powerful combined than individually. In order to extract maximal benefit from such combined studies, specific bioinformatics support is necessary in the form of databases, visualization, and data analysis. Ultimately, a full understanding of the underlying phenomena will require an additional layer of computational and theoretical tools, supporting the formulation and evaluation of dynamic models that attempt to represent the biological system. Such models will need to be predictive, but we believe that, much more than that, they need to be explanatory. Within our laboratory we are pursuing several projects in this direction and have a strong interest in combining that approach with the data and informatics systems described here, as have others. This will be a topic of much discussion in the near future and we await it with excitement.