The term glycomics is probably derived from the chemical prefix for sweetness or a sugar, "glyco-", and was formed to follow the naming convention established by genomics and proteomics. The identity of the entirety of carbohydrates in an organism is thus collectively referred to as the glycome.
This area of research has to deal with an inherent level of complexity not seen in other areas of applied biology. Whereas genes have four building blocks and proteins have 20, the saccharides have a multitude of building blocks. While these building blocks can be attached only linearly for proteins and genes, they can be arranged in a branched array for saccharides, further increasing the degree of compexity. Advances in glycomics are anticipated to be driven by improvements in molecular sequencing and bioinformatics, which is the computational organization and processing of sequence data.
- An article on glycomics appeared New Scientist 26 October 2002. It provides a broad insight into some of the challenges and opportunities posed by glycomics, as of 2002.
- Functional Glycomics Gateway, a collaboration between the Consortium for Functional Glycomics and the Nature Publishing Group