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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Perspectives on testing for toxic agents.

A series of observations and comments are made with respect to several areas of toxicology: these are briefly discussed. Some innovative areas receive discussion as representing substantial progress made in the field of toxicology in recent years. Topics included raise a number of questions: what agents should we test, and how should we go about selecting them; what is the importance of allowing for genetic diversity in carrying out tests that are meaningful for humans; and what is the relevance of studies in pharmacokinetics in the laboratory to humans. Human studies, because of ethical considerations, must be indirect, through access to available autopsy and surgical human tissues. Also, drug trials and clinical studies must be exploited. Cancer testing and evaluation is briefly commented on. Systemic toxicity is considered in respect to possible improved ways of determining the "NOEL," that is, the no-observed-effect level. Suggestions for improving study of mixtures of chemicals are considered. The rapid advances in molecular biology have significantly strengthened our ability to trace the action of chemicals in the body from exposure to disease. It is very important that training in toxicology be based on a sound disciplinary training in one of the classic fields of the biomedical sciences, such as biochemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology. It is concluded that advances in the past decade have made the practice of toxicology a much more scientific endeavor, especially in its use of the latest developments in basic biomedical sciences.[1]


  1. Perspectives on testing for toxic agents. Nelson, N. Environ. Health Perspect. (1987) [Pubmed]
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