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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2010, 11(11), 4511-4525; doi:10.3390/ijms11114511

The Role of Molecular Biology in the Biomonitoring of Human Exposure to Chemicals

Departamento de Toxicología, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN, Av. IPN 2508, México, DF 07360, Mexico
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 September 2010 / Revised: 12 October 2010 / Accepted: 29 October 2010 / Published: 12 November 2010
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics)
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Exposure to different substances in an occupational environment is of utmost concern to global agencies such as the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization. Interest in improving work health conditions, particularly of those employees exposed to noxious chemicals, has increased considerably and has stimulated the search for new, more specific and selective tests. Recently, the field of molecular biology has been indicated as an alternative technique for monitoring personnel while evaluating work-related pathologies. Originally, occupational exposure to environmental toxicants was assessed using biochemical techniques to determine the presence of higher concentrations of toxic compounds in blood, urine, or other fluids or tissues; results were used to evaluate potential health risk. However, this approach only estimates the presence of a noxious chemical and its effects, but does not prevent or diminish the risk. Molecular biology methods have become very useful in occupational medicine to provide more accurate and opportune diagnostics. In this review, we discuss the role of the following common techniques: (1) Use of cell cultures; (2) evaluation of gene expression; (3) the “omic” sciences (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics) and (4) bioinformatics. We suggest that molecular biology has many applications in occupational health where the data can be applied to general environmental conditions.
Keywords: molecular biology; occupational toxicology; biological monitoring molecular biology; occupational toxicology; biological monitoring
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Muñoz, B.; Albores, A. The Role of Molecular Biology in the Biomonitoring of Human Exposure to Chemicals. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2010, 11, 4511-4525.

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