Main Difference – Genetics vs Genomics
Genetics and genomics are two broad areas of the study of organism’s genetic material. The nucleus of a cell contains the genetic material of an organism. This genetic material is called the genome of the organism. The genome is made up of genes that determine the characteristics or traits of that particular organism. The main difference between genetics and genomics is that genetics is the study of heredity of traits of living organisms from one generation to the other whereas genomics is the study of the entirety of genes in the genome of a particular organism. Gregor Mendel established the basic rules of genetics in 1865. The term, genomics was first introduced by the scientist, Tom Roderick in 1986.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Genetics
– Definition, Subfields, Scope of Study
2. What is Genomics
– Definition, Subfields, Scope of Study
3. What are the Similarities Between Genetics and Genomics
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Genetics and Genomics
– Comparison of Key Differences
Key Terms: Epigenetics, Genes, Genetics, Genome, Genomics, Heredity, Population Genetics, Traits
What is Genetics
Genetics is the study of the patterns of inheritance of a specific character among generations as well as the variation of that particular character within a population. Gregor Mendel is considered to be the father of genetics. He observed ‘units of inheritance’ from the studies of the heredity of traits in the pea plants. These units of inheritance are now referred to as genes. Genes are stored in chromosomes. Humans have 46 chromosomes in the nucleus. Genetics is mainly involved in studying the structure of genes, functions, variations, and gene distribution within a population. Therefore, the two major subfields of genetics are epigenetics and population genetics.
A gene can be considered as a piece of genetic information. The genetic information of a gene can be changed by a mutation. The alternative forms of a gene are called alleles. Alleles determine the genotype of the organism for a particular trait. The phenotype is determined by both genotype and the influence of the environment on the expression of the genotype. A gene in the chromosome is shown in figure 1.
What is Genomics
Genomics is the study of the complete set of genetic information of an organism. The complete set of genetic information is referred to as the genome. The structure, function, and the evolution of genomes are studied in genomics. Genomics utilizes the techniques of molecular biology such as genome sequencing and bioinformatics in an assembly. The sequences of the genome can be revealed by DNA sequencing. Those gene sequences are analyzed by various bioinformatics tools.
Genomics studies the intragenomic processes such as heterosis, epistasis, and pleiotropy. The interactions between alleles and loci are also studied in genomics. The components of the human genome, which are revealed by genomics are shown in figure 2.
Similarities Between Genetics and Genomics
- Both genetics and genomics reveal information about the genes in the genome.
- Both genetics and genomics study the structure and functions of genes.
Difference Between Genetics and Genomics
Genetics: Genetics is the study of heredity of traits of an organism and their variations within a population.
Genomics: Genomics is the study of genomes or the complete set of genetic material of an organism.
Genetics: Genetics was introduced by Gregor Mendel in 1865.
Genomics: Genomics was introduced by Tom Roderick in 1986.
Genetics: Genetics mainly focuses on the behavior of genes – how genes are involved in the development and functioning of the body, cause diseases, and respond to the drugs.
Genomics: Genomics focuses on the entire genome of an organism.
Genetics: Genetics can be studied with the use of biochemistry and biology.
Genomics: Genomics can be studied with the use of bioinformatics and molecular biology.
Genetics: The study of genetics is mainly involved in the study of a single gene.
Genomics: The study of genomics is mainly involved in the study of interactions between genes.
Genetics: Epigenetics and population genetics are the two subfields of genetics.
Genomics: Heterosis, epistasis, pleiotropy, and the study of interactions between loci and alleles are the subfields of genomics.
Genetics and genomics are two broad areas that study the genetic information of organisms. Genetics is involved in studying the genes whereas genomics is involved in the studying the genomes. Genomics is much complex field than genetics. This is the difference between genetics and genomics.
1. “Components of the human genome” By NHS National Genetics and Genomics Education Centre – Flickr (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Chromosome-DNA-gene” By Thomas Splettstoesser (www.scistyle.com) – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia