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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

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.