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Integrating Omic Technologies into Aquatic Ecological Risk Assessment and Environmental Monitoring: Hurdles, Achievements, and Future Outlook

Authors
Journal
Environmental Health Perspectives
0091-6765
Publisher
Environmental Health Perspectives
Publication Date
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1289/ehp.0900985
Keywords
  • Commentary
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Communication
  • Ecology
  • Political Science

Abstract

Background In this commentary we present the findings from an international consortium on fish toxicogenomics sponsored by the U.K. Natural Environment Research Council (Fish Toxicogenomics—Moving into Regulation and Monitoring, held 21–23 April 2008 at the Pacific Environmental Science Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada). Objectives The consortium from government agencies, academia, and industry addressed three topics: progress in ecotoxicogenomics, regulatory perspectives on roadblocks for practical implementation of toxicogenomics into risk assessment, and dealing with variability in data sets. Discussion Participants noted that examples of successful application of omic technologies have been identified, but critical studies are needed to relate molecular changes to ecological adverse outcome. Participants made recommendations for the management of technical and biological variation. They also stressed the need for enhanced interdisciplinary training and communication as well as considerable investment into the generation and curation of appropriate reference omic data. Conclusions The participants concluded that, although there are hurdles to pass on the road to regulatory acceptance, omics technologies are already useful for elucidating modes of action of toxicants and can contribute to the risk assessment process as part of a weight-of-evidence approach.

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