What is toxicogenomics?
Understanding the molecular mechanisms of toxicity
Toxicogenomics (1,2) is the study of the structure and function of the genome as it responds to cellular exposure to foreign agents. It combines the field of toxicology with high-throughput technologies such as transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics in an attempt to understand the molecular mechanisms of toxicity. Studying these mechanisms can help in building better animal and human models, with the goal of better predicting toxic response in humans.
Moving away from animal models towards in vitro assays
Toxicology has become a data-dense discipline with the opportunity to use high-throughput genomic technologies. Under initiatives such as the NC3Rs, the aim is to refine and reduce animal-based testing models with the use of non-animal in vitro/in silico assays, ultimately with the goal of replacing animal use. These assays/models developed as a result of toxicogenomics could be better predictors of human toxicity in vivo, less costly and socially more acceptable.