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Toxicogenomics and Toxic Tort Litigation: Perfect Together

Proving causation in toxic tort litigation has proven difficult for a long time, says Genomics Law Report's Jon Ferry. But work being done in the field of toxicogenomics is allowing lawyers to refine their cases and take a more targeted approach. "Genomic level analysis provides the prospect for significantly sharpening the concept of relative risk, and perhaps in some cases altogether, supplanting population-based risk analysis with proof of specific causation," Ferry writes. Some plaintiffs may have genetic characteristics that make them susceptible to toxic substances, while some analysis may reveal genetic mutations in some people that can be directly traced to a specific cause. "The identification of a toxicogenomic response ... may allow litigants to confirm or refute actual exposure to the substance at issue and determine, at least in the eyes of the court, if the substance at issue actually causes the subject's illness," Ferry adds.

Come to think of it, toxicogenomics probably would have come in handy for Erin Brockovich.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.