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Posted Fri Oct 22 2010: from Scientific American:
Sequencing the "Exposome": Researchers Take a Cue from Genomics to Decipher Environmental Exposure's Links to Disease
Anxious about BPA? Petrified of pesticides? Plenty of scientific literature shows that concerns about certain chemicals' potential to up the risk for chronic disease are justified. And although genetics can predispose a person to many ills, more than half of disease risk -- and possibly as much as 90 percent -- likely stem from environmental factors, according to recent epidemiological research. Hard data -- of the quality now gleaned from genetic studies -- however, has been lacking in the environmental field. And if there is to be any hope of untangling the complex web of risks behind chronic diseases, many scientists argue, researchers need to develop an "exposome," a highly detailed map of environmental exposures that might occur throughout a lifetime, which can be mapped onto the etiology (the study of causes) of major illnesses, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
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