LIKE, “-OMIC” GOD!

By | January 06, 2006 | archive, humour, rant (WTF?)

Let us marvel at the proliferation of the term “ome”.

First off – let’s define the term “-ome”. As near as I can tell, it means “whole” or “mass”. “-ome” takes into account the totality of a thing – it defines a field. Hence the “genome” is the sum of all genetic stuff and the first “-ome” I remember encountering – “biome” – is the complete collection of living and non-living components within a defined region. In addition, my thesis (as far as I understand it) deals in the realm of pharmacogenomics, a term that I think captures the striking dynamism of my work and always impresses relatives. Clearly, “-ome” is a suffix with versatility and panache.

However, there has been an explosion of new “-omes” of late and it leaves me wondering if, perhaps, this might dull the usefulness of the term. What should we make of the fact that the weighty grandeur of “the literature” has been subverted, traded for the seemingly stupefying “bibliome”? Or how about the fact that those studying tertiary structure of proteins are delving deep into, of all things, the “foldome”? What of the epitome of this “-ome” explosion: the “epitome” (which addresses all defined epitopes)?

Of course, who am I to argue with a trend that appears to have such traction, such legs? Language is nothing if not malleable, and rather than fighting this “-ome” situation – rather than engaging in foolhardy opposition to such an obviously robust movement – I think the time is right for me make my own contribution. My goal is to birth the “-omic” equivalent of Matt Groening’s “d’oh”, possibly the greatest utterance invented in the past 50 years.

To that end, and after much consideration, I offer the following:

d’oh-ome: every mistake you ever made. (Don’t tell me you didn’t see this one coming.)

klept-ome: everything that was stolen (also known as “mob inventory”). The kleptome can sometimes be revealed after audits of government spending.

couch-ome: all the time spent watching TV. Might explain why you’re single.

ho-ome: complete menu at a brothel. (FYI: this term has proven very useful for “yo mama” jokes. Think about it.)

booze-ome: everything you drank. Explains why your head hurts this morning.

Of course, this “-omic” exercise inevitably takes us to the ome-ome. (Or how about ome-ome-ome – as in “ome-ome-ome/how do ya like it?/how do you like it?”. Ah, disco.). And there is actually a pretty cool realization in this. You see, in attempting to divine new “-ome” words, I was working myself up quite nicely – it dawned on me that I needed to relax. So I followed the advice of my yoga-practicing fiancé and friends: I sat down, took a deep breath, and…

Om shanti.

Om…

Om…?

Om (or “Aum”) is the symbol of the absolute, the “sacred syllable”. It is the true essence of the universe. How cool is that? How cool is it that you go bigger and bigger, laying out continually more contrived “-omic” permutations, and when you ultimately come to the totality of the totality… you end up at Om, which has no beginning and no end? Cool, no?

What?

I’m out of my gourd?

Fine – just make sure you remember the d’oh-ome next time you stub your toe.

About timonbuys

Timon Buys is currently a graduate student at the BC Cancer Research Centre. He draws inspiration from Bill Watterson and Terry Fox. Also, he gets pleasure from palindromes like Bob, kayak, and DNA.