What is the exposome?

             Success in mapping the human genome has fostered the complementary concept of the “exposome”. The exposome can be defined as the measure of all the exposures of an individual in a lifetime and how those exposures relate to disease. An individual’s exposure begins before birth and includes insults from environmental and occupational sources. Understanding how our exposures from our environment, diet, lifestyle, etc. interact with our own unique characteristics like genetics, physiology, and epigenetic makeup resulting in disease is how the exposome will be deciphered. 

             Exposomics is the study of the exposome and relies on other fields such as genomics, metabonomics, lipidomics, transcriptomics and proteomics. Common threads of these fields are 1) use of biomarkers to determine exposure, effect of exposure, disease progression, and susceptibility factors, 2) use of technologies that result in large amounts of data and 3) use of data mining techniques to find statistical associations between exposures, effect of exposures, and other factors such as genetics with disease. Exposomics could also potentially include the study of exposures in the environment that might improve or enhance health.

              The key factor in the exposome is to be able to accurately measure exposures and effect of exposures. Many of the “omics” technologies have the potential to further our understanding of disease causation and progression. Metabonomics and adductomics (DNA and protein adduct measurement) have been used in the past to establish exposure-disease relationships. Research is needed to determine the utility of the “omics” technologies in defining the exposome.  

See the full Exposomics artivle at CDC

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