Ecotoxicology and environmental epidemiology require an intimate understanding of the relationship between exposure of a population to a pollutant and the subsequent biological effects. This article summarizes two relatively new and powerful techniques to examine both exposure and response to environmental pollutants which build upon an increased understanding of how particular classes of chemicals elicit toxicity at the molecular level. The genetic reporter assay can be used to examine the exposure and potential toxicity of environmental samples. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is an exquisitely sensitive and adaptable procedure to examine early events, i.e. biomarkers, that might be indicative of exposure and/or sensitivity to a chemical insult. Taken together, these assays are important new tools in assessing the exposure and risk of human and wildlife populations to such important pollutants as dioxins, PCBs, oestrogenic and anti-oestrogenic compounds, phthalate esters, DDT metabolites and heavy metals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis