With the creation of the Metabolomics Data Repository managed by Data Repository and Coordination Center (DRCC), the NIH acknowledges the importance of data sharing for metabolomics. Metabolomics represents the systematic study of low molecular weight molecules found in a biological sample, providing a "snapshot" of the current and actual state of the cell or organism at a specific point in time. Thus, the metabolome represents the functional activity of biological systems. As with other ‘omics’, metabolites are conserved across animals, plants and microbial species, facilitating the extrapolation of research findings in laboratory animals to humans. Common technologies for measuring the metabolome include mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), which can measure hundreds to thousands of unique chemical entities.
Data sharing in metabolomics will include primary raw data and the biological and analytical meta-data necessary to interpret these data. Through cooperation between investigators, metabolomics laboratories and data coordinating centers, these data sets should provide a rich resource for the research community to enhance preclinical, clinical and translational research.