Molecular-based screening assays using new technologies such as High-Throughput Screening (HTS) and High-Content Screening (HCS) developed initially for use in the pharmaceutical industry enable a cost-effective approach for prioritization and hazard identification of large numbers of chemicals in a short period of time.
Toxicogenomics is defined as a study of the response of a genome to hazardous substances, using “omics” technologies such as genomic-scale mRNA expression (transcriptomics), cell and tissue-wide protein expression (proteomics), and metabolite profiling (metabolomics), in combination with bioinformatic methods and conventional toxicology.
In relation to chemical hazard/risk assessment, these newly emerging science and technology provide tools for improving the understanding of mechanisms of toxicity, reducing uncertainty in grouping of chemicals, and providing alternative methods for screening chemicals. In the future they could be used for hazard identification and characterisation.
OECD assists internationally collaborative efforts on Molecular Screening and Toxicogenomics with the aim of defining needs and possibilities for their application in a regulatory context.