Skip to main content


Title: Endocrine disruption horizon scanning: molecular and genomic contributions
Author: J. van Aerle
Author: Environment Agency
Author: K. A. Walsh
Document Type: Monograph
Annotation: Environment Agency Project ID:EAPRJOUT_1121, Representation ID: 357, Object ID: 2386; Environment Agency Project ID:EAPRJOUT_1468, Representation ID: 512, Object ID: 2621; Environment Agency Project ID:EAPRJOUT_1555, Representation ID: 544, Object ID: 2699
This review is part of a series on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which are thought to cause hormonal and sex changes in freshwater organisms such as dogwhelks and fish. It specifically focuses on the growing use of genomics and how it has improved our understanding of the effects of chemicals on wildlife. Most studies of endocrine disrupting chemicals have focused on high doses or very polluted environments. However, with the advent of genomic technologies we can now measure effects at much lower doses, to establish whether important changes are occurring at the level of gene expression (gene activation or suppression). This report concludes that further research is needed to establish and validate the use of genomics for environmental monitoring, before these tools can be considered for regulatory application. Research is needed to: - validate the tools being developed; - develop datasets for various species and environments, documenting normal gene expression profiles and fingerprints of exposure; - further develop resources for analysing the datasets generated, and maintain publicly available databases to support work in this area of research; - develop scientific partnerships of experts in ecotoxicology and genomics, in order to fully make use of the tools that these technologies are able to provide. Among the most promising emerging technologies, microarrays and real-time PCR are likely to be especially useful for the detection, monitoring and mechanistic understanding of the risks posed by environmental chemicals. Microarrays can help elucidate the mechanisms of action of individual chemicals and identify new biomarkers for environmental monitoring, but their complexity and cost restricts their use to large specialised laboratories. Once molecular biomarkers are identified, real-time PCR can be applied to large numbers of samples at a relatively low cost, making this technique particularly suited for environmental monitoring.
Publisher: Environment Agency
Subject Keywords: RiversEstuariesCoastal watersInvertebratesResearchGeneticsEnvironmental monitoringBrackishwater environmentFreshwater ecologyEndocrinological functions
Extent: 83
Total file downloads: 283

Download PDF    Display PDF in separate tab