genomic sequencing

Science Dictionary
genomic sequencing   (jə-nō'mĭk)  Pronunciation Key 
The sequencing of the entire genome of an organism.

Our Living Language  : The technique that allows researchers to read and decipher the genetic information found in the DNA of anything from bacteria to plants to animals is called genomic sequencing. Once a tedious, painstaking process, today, thanks to new techniques and the advent of powerful computers, it has been sped up a hundredfold. Sequencing involves determining the order of bases, the nucleotide subunits (adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine, referred to by the letters A, G, C and T) found in DNA. (Humans have about 3 billion base pairs.) Three nucleotides in a row specify one kind of amino acid, and a gene is defined by a long string of these triplets. There are various techniques to read the sequence of these "letters" in genes and genomes. So-called shotgun sequencing was used to help decode the human genome. Using this method, the DNA to be sequenced is first broken apart with enzymes, since gene-sequencing machines can only handle small stretches of DNA at a time. Once these random fragments are sequenced, powerful supercomputers compare overlapping sections and recreate the original, long strand. By decoding genomes and sequencing genes, researchers are beginning to understand how those strings of letters work together to create a living organism.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: genomic medicine
Next Definition: genomic-dna
Words Near: genomic sequencing
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for genomic sequencing
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing genomic sequencing
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature