genome ˈjē-ˌnōm noun
: the ordering of genes in a haploid set of chromosomes of a particular organism; the full DNA sequence of an organism
The word genome has appeared in 106 articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on Jan. 9 in “When the Cobra Bites, You’ll Be Glad Someone Sequenced Its Genome” by Nicholas Bakalar:
Some scientists think genomic technologies could be used to synthesize antivenom, and eventually treat victims more cheaply and effectively. They want to study the venom genes themselves, including their organization, variability and evolution. Doing this requires mapping the snake’s genome.
In Nature Genetics on Monday, one team of researchers released their map of the genome of Naja naja, the Indian cobra. They found 12,346 genes expressed in the venom glands, what they call the “venom-ome” of the animal. Of these, they found 139 toxin genes, the ones that perform the biological reactions specific to toxins. Then they designated 19 of these genes as “venom-ome specific,” expressed only in the venom gland, and that are responsible for a wide range of symptoms in humans, including heart-function problems, paralysis, nausea, blurred vision, internal bleeding and death.