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Systems biology describes a holistic and integrative approach to understand physiology and pathology. The “omic” disciplines include genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolic profiling (metabonomics and metabolomics). By adopting a stance, which is opposing (yet complimentary) to conventional research techniques, systems biology offers an overview by assessing the “net” biological effect imposed by a disease or nondisease state. There are a number of different organizational levels to be understood, from DNA to protein, metabolites, cells, organs and organisms, even beyond this to an organism's context. Systems biology relies on the existence of “nodes” and “edges.” Nodes are the constituent part of the system being studied (eg, proteins in the proteome), while the edges are the way these constituents interact. In future, it will be increasingly important to collaborate, collating data from multiple studies to improve data sets, making them freely available and undertaking integrative analyses.