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Reinforcement of research potential of laboratory for ecotoxicology

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Ecotoxicogenomics brought into the research arena

An EU-funded project has launched an initiative to apply the 'omic' technologies to research on ecotoxicology. The focus is on the pressing issue of endocrine disruptors.

Climate Change and Environment

As a major concern in ecosystem pollution today, endocrine disruptors are particularly damaging, causing cancers, birth defects and other developmental problems. The 'Reinforcement of research potential of laboratory for ecotoxicology' (REP-Lecotox) project scientists concentrated on endocrine disruption and characterisation of sources of aquatic ecotoxicology. Upgrading of science and technology (S&T) equipment, recruitment of young researchers and extensive networking created a synergy which upgraded the research at the centre to a level comparable with any in Europe. For overall development of novel testing procedures, REP-Lecotox successfully combined genomics and proteomics with conventional toxicity tests and known biomarkers. Two workshops exemplify the work of REP-Lecotox. 'Ecotoxicogenomics: the challenge of integrating genomics/proteomics/metabolomics into aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicology' brought together experts in genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and bioinformatics. The outcome was a comprehensive overview of the direction of ecotoxicogenomics in relation to new technologies. More policy based, 'Trends in ecological risk assessment' assembled decision makers as well as stakeholders from industry, regulatory agencies and academia. The resulting network investigated the current state and future of risk assessment in relation to chemical toxicity and related EU regulations. Perhaps most important is the establishment of the regularly updated website at dynamic nature of ecotoxicology is reflected in the very latest news about ongoing projects, publications, research news and facilities at Lecotox as well as collaborative projects. Completion of the project has been accompanied by the elevation of Lecotox in the European research arena. The research lab is now an appropriate partner in applied research programmes and EU ecotoxicology research in future Framework Programmes and beyond.

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