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Toxicol Sci. 2003 Jun;73(2):209-15. Epub 2003 Apr 15.

Workshop overview: use of genomic data in risk assessment.

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  • 1National Center for Toxicogenomics and the National Toxicology Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, P.O. Box 12233, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


The completion of the Human Genome Project has provided the foundation to analyze the expression of all genes transcribed in a specific cell, as well as a reference against which to assess genetic variability and its impact on susceptibility. Recent advances in genomic technologies have set the stage for better understanding and predicting individual adaptive and toxicological responses after toxicant exposure. Thus, it is now possible to simultaneously assess expression levels for thousands of different genes using DNA microarrays, as well as assess posttranscriptional and posttranslational events using high throughput proteomics. Similarly, the risk of toxicant exposure-induced disease used to be estimated across populations with widely varying responses. However, new high-throughput genomic technologies have the potential to greatly improve the accuracy of risk assessment, allowing identification of sensitive subpopulations at risk and ultimately leading to personalized risk profiles based on genetic composition. Recognizing the importance these technologies will have on the practice of risk assessment and the development of regulatory guidelines, the Society of Toxicology sponsored a workshop to evaluate the current status of genomic research; the ethical, legal, and social issues associated with these approaches; and, in this context, how data derived from these technologies would impact risk assessment. This article summarizes the evaluation by experts in genomic research and risk assessment in the first workshop to provide a forum for interaction between these scientific disciplines.

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