From Genome to Function

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Science  15 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5524, pp. 2095-2097
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5524.2095

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The recent flood of sequence data and the vision of a complete model of life has created new challenges in biology. First, to find the genes and determine or predict their structures and functions. Then, to understand their biological roles and model the complete cell or organism in silico. This essay describes for the non-expert the current approaches to just one part of the larger picture--given a protein sequence or a structure, using a computer, what can we deduce about its function; what approaches are available and how good are they?