Systems Biology and Synthetic Biology: A New Epoch for Toxicology Research

Mark T Mc Auley, Choi Hyunok, Kathleen Mooney, Emily Paul

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Systems biology and synthetic biology are emerging disciplines which are becoming increasingly utilised in several areas of bioscience. Toxicology is beginning to benefit from systems biology and we suggest in the future that is will also benefit from synthetic biology.Thus, a new era is on the horizon. This review illustrates how a suite of innovative techniques and tools can be applied to understanding complex health and toxicology issues.We review limitations confronted by the traditional computational approaches to toxicology and epidemiology research, using polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their effects on adverse birth outcomes as an illustrative example. We introduce how systems toxicology (and their subdisciplines, genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic toxicology) will help to overcome such limitations. In particular, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of mathematical frameworks that computationally represent biological systems. Finally, we discuss the nascent discipline of synthetic biology and highlight relevant toxicological centred applications of this technique, including improvements in personalised medicine. We conclude this review by presenting a number of opportunities and challenges that could shape the future of these rapidly evolving disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalAdvances in Toxicology
Early online date1 Jan 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2015


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