Minute to Understanding: What is the difference between genetics and genomics?


Genetics vs. genomics

The terms sound alike, and they are often used interchangeably. But there are some important distinctions.

The difference between genetics and genomics is not just the letter O.

Genetics is the study of how different characteristics are inherited, things like eye color, or anatomy, or maybe even good taste. Genes, which are blocks of DNA, control all of these characteristics, and studying a gene could reveal why a mutation might cause a disease. But diseases are complex and not often caused by single genes.

Enter genomics, which studies all of an organism's genes, their genome, to find every difference, no matter how small, contributing to a characteristic. This could require going through billions of units of DNA in a population.

Genomics is a young field that relies on advancing technology, but when genetics is simply not powerful enough to get to the root of a disease genomics can step in to find a solution.

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