Toxicogenomics in Environmental Science.

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Toxicogenomics in Environmental Science.

Adv Biochem Eng Biotechnol. 2017;157:159-186

Authors: Brinke A, Buchinger S

This chapter reviews the current knowledge and recent progress in the field of environmental, aquatic ecotoxicogenomics with a focus on transcriptomic methods. In ecotoxicogenomics the omics technologies are applied for the detection and assessment of adverse effects in the environment, and thus are to be distinguished from omics used in human toxicology [Snape et al., Aquat Toxicol 67:143-154, 2004]. Transcriptomic methods in ecotoxicology are applied to gain a mechanistic understanding of toxic effects on organisms or populations, and thus aim to bridge the gap between cause and effect. A worthwhile effect-based interpretation of stressor induced changes on the transcriptome is based on the principle of phenotypic-anchoring [Paules, Environ Health Perspect 111:A338-A339, 2003]. Thereby, changes on the transcriptomic level can only be identified as effects if they are clearly linked to a specific stressor-induced effect on the macroscopic level. By integrating those macroscopic and transcriptomic effects, conclusions on the effect-inducing type of the stressor can be drawn. Stressor-specific effects on the transcriptomic level can be identified as stressor-specific induced pathways, transcriptomic patterns, or stressors-specific genetic biomarkers. In this chapter, examples of the combined application of macroscopic and transcriptional effects for the identification of environmental stressors, such as aquatic pollutants, are given and discussed. By means of these examples, challenges on the way to a standardized application of transcriptomics in ecotoxicology are discussed. This is also done against the background of the application of transcriptomic methods in environmental regulation such as the EU regulation Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).

PMID: 27864593 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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