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Characterizing the exposome to complement the genome

Martyn SMITH  
【摘要】:正The exposome is defined as the totality of environmental exposures from conception onwards. It offers a conceptual leap towards understanding the environmental causes of human disease through comprehensive studies of the internal chemical environment using repeated blood and other biological samples taken during critical life stages.It augments the chemical-by - chemical approach to finding causes of disease as it includes both endogenous and exogenous exposures.From a toxicological viewpoint it is the chemicals present in biological fluids,such as the plasma,that the body's cell and tissues encounter that then cause aberrant health conditions.Hence,it is the internal exposome that represents the total target dose of chemical agents in the body,no matter what their source or how they are derived.This includes chemicals arising from inflammation,oxidative stress and other endogenous sources.Several 'omic' technologies can be applied to characterize the exposome of specific diseases and may promote discovery of the key exposures responsible for chronic diseases.Characterizing the human exposome represents a challenge similar to the human genome project,which began when DNA sequencing was in its infancy and has generated by some accounts $140 for every $1 invested.Given the magnitude of the exposome challenge international participation is of paramount importance.Thus, we have formed the Exposome Alliance(http://www.exposomealliance.org) to promote investment in a human exposome project.The European Union recently took the first steps in this regard by funding a European Exposome Initiative that will support several international projects.

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