The proteomics field has certainly had its share of ups and downs. Mass spectrometry, the key technology used for proteome analysis, has been long criticized as being an irreproducible technique. In a Commentary this month, six leaders in the field argue that the technology has greatly matured over the past decade and when it is properly applied, it is highly reproducible. The technology is also getting more and more sensitive; mass spectrometry has been used to detect large portions of the proteome of several cell types.
However, the human proteome is enormously complex, when one considers all the diverse tissues, fluids and cell types present, and all the possible protein post-translational modifications and alternative splicings. Whether it is realistic to carry out a Human Proteome Project at all and what the scope of the project should look like are questions that the proteomics field does not agree on. The anticipated cost and scale of such a project would be on the order of the Human Genome Project, so it is important for the field to come to a consensus on these issues.
What do you think about the proposed Human Proteome Project?