Transcriptomics and proteomics are increasingly applied to gain a mechanistic insight into neurodegenerative disorders. These techniques not only identify distinct, differentially expressed mRNAs and proteins but are also employed to dissect signaling pathways and reveal networks by using an integrated approach. In part I of this back-to-back review, technical aspects are discussed: in the transcriptomics section, which includes enrichment by laser microcapture dissection, we comment on qRT-PCR, SAGE, subtractive hybridization, differential display and microarrays, including software packages. In the proteomics section we discuss two-dimensional (2D) gel electrophoresis, liquid chromatography, methods to label and enrich specific proteins or peptides, and different types of mass spectrometers. These tools have been applied to a range of neurodegenerative disorders and are discussed and integrated in part II (Functional Genomics meets neurodegenerative disorders. Part II: application and data integration).