Proteomics in non-model organisms: a new analytical frontier
Michelle Heck, Benjamin A. Neely
For the last century we have relied on model organisms to help understand fundamental biological processes. Now, with advancements in genome sequencing, assembly and annotation, non-model organisms may be studied with the same advanced bioanalytical toolkit as model organisms. Proteomics is one such technique, which classically relies on predicted protein sequences to catalog and measure complex proteomes across tissues and biofluids. Applying proteomics to non-model organisms can advance and accelerate biomimicry studies, biomedical advancements, veterinary medicine, agricultural research, behavioral ecology, and food safety. In this post-model organism era we can study almost any species, meaning that many non-model organisms are in fact important emerging model organisms. Herein we focus specifically on eukaryotic organisms and discuss steps to generating sequence databases, analyzing proteomic data with or without a database, interpreting results, and future research opportunities. Proteomics is more accessible than ever before, and will continue to rapidly advance in the coming years, enabling critical research and discoveries in non-model organisms that were hitherto impossible.