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50 years existence and active participation of EEMS (now EEMGS) in the scientific community: A driver of European and international scientific collaborations for the protection of the environment and human health from genome stressors

Research output: Contribution to journalShort survey

Lisbeth E. Knudsen, David H. Phillips, Micheline Kirsch-Volders

Original languageEnglish
Article number503132
JournalMutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
Volume850-851
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

King's Authors

Abstract

EEMS and its successor Society EEMGS have provided a dynamic and successful platform to stimulate research and exchanges among the different actors involved in the protection of the environment and of human health from exposure to genome stressors. It includes basic, translational and applied research projects. This was possible due to the enthusiasm, creativity and support of scientists convinced of the importance of these issues. In the future young scientists will take over with new questions, new challenges, new technologies, new discoveries and new applications. A major challenge is the ethical questions emerging from the impressive potential of present genetic technologies capable of impacting the evolution of nature and humankind. The EEMGS, where academics, regulators and industries meet, should play a central role in these aspects, in particular in support of primary prevention and the establishment of internationally recognized guidelines. Collaboration with colleagues and other teams are of great importance to establish a stimulating open dialogue on scientific questions. However the key issues remain to do careful and rigorous research; to use logic and background knowledge; to define adequate experimental designs; to provide transparency in the protocols; to check repeatability of the results and to combine several statistical approaches in the quest to get to the truth. Among the many challenges ahead, re-evaluation of some key fundamental questions is necessary, such as the interplay between genetics and epigenetics, the existence of specific germ cell mutagens or the identification of the mechanisms leading to mutagen induced diseases. Translational and applied research will further include the development of systemic biomonitoring protocols, if possible in a single biological sample, the redaction of internationally harmonized guidelines but also the organization of platforms between geneticists and physicians open to all actors in the field. The creation of an independent European center to assess risk from exposure to mutagens, in particular in the light of the problematic of global warming might be very helpful.

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