Animal venom is a complex cocktail of bioactive chemicals that traditionally drew interest mostly from biochemists and pharmacologists. However, in recent years the evolutionary and ecological importance of venom is realized as this trait has direct and strong influence on interactions between species. Moreover, venom content can be modulated by environmental factors. Like many other fields of biology, venom research has been revolutionized in recent years by the introduction of systems biology approaches, i.e., genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics. The employment of these methods in venom research is known as 'venomics'. In this review we describe the history and recent advancements of venomics and discuss how they are employed in studying venom in general and in particular in the context of evolutionary ecology. We also discuss the pitfalls and challenges of venomics and what the future may hold for this emerging scientific field.
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© 2015 Elsevier B.V.