Schirmer, K., Fischer, B. B., Madureira, D. J., & Pillai, S. (2010). Transcriptomics in ecotoxicology. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 397(3), 917-923. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00216-010-3662-3
The emergence of analytical tools for high-throughput screening of biomolecules has revolutionized the way in which toxicologists explore the impact of chemicals or other stressors on organisms. One of the most developed and routinely applied high-throughput analysis approaches is transcriptomics, also often referred to as gene expression profiling. The transcriptome represents all RNA molecules, including the messenger RNA (mRNA), which constitutes the building blocks for translating DNA into amino acids to form proteins. The entirety of mRNA is a mirror of the genes that are actively expressed in a cell or an organism at a given time. This in turn allows one to deduce how organisms respond to changes in the external environment. In this article we explore how transcriptomics is currently applied in ecotoxicology and highlight challenges and trends.