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In recent years several technologies for the complete analysis of the transcriptome and proteome have reached a technological level which allows their routine application as scientific tools. The principle of these methods is the identification and quantification of up to ten thousands of RNA and proteins species in a tissue, in contrast to the sequential analysis of conventional methods such as PCR and Western blotting. Due to their technical progress transcriptome and proteome analyses are becoming increasingly relevant in all fields of biological research. They are mainly used for the explorative identification of disease associated complex gene expression patterns and thereby set the stage for hypothesis-driven studies. This review gives an overview on the methods currently available for transcriptome analysis, that is, microarrays, Ref-Seq, quantitative PCR arrays and discusses their potentials and limitations. Second, the most powerful current approaches to proteome analysis are introduced, that is, 2D-gel electrophoresis, shotgun proteomics, MudPIT and the diverse technological concepts are reviewed. Finally, experimental strategies for biomarker discovery, experimental settings for the identification of prognostic gene sets and explorative versus hypothesis driven approaches for the elucidation of diseases associated genes and molecular pathways are described and their potential for studies in veterinary research is highlighted.