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Reproducibility and Transparency of Omics Research - Impacts on Human Health Risk Assessment
Burgoon, L. Reproducibility and Transparency of Omics Research - Impacts on Human Health Risk Assessment. SCIENCE. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Washington, DC.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the importance of reproducibility and transparency with respect to omics research and the impacts of reproducibility and transparency on human health risk assessment.
Omics technologies are becoming more widely used in toxicology, necessitating their consideration in human health hazard and risk assessment programs. Today, risk assessors in the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Toxicological Reviews are making use of these data. Lack of access to primary data, lack of analysis transparency, and the lack of adherence to community standards/best practices appear to be the most significant challenges we face in using omics studies to inform US EPA risk assessments and ultimately policy decisions. Recent hexavalent chromium toxicogenomics studies provide an example where reproducible research principles (i.e., making the analysis methods and data transparent and publicly available), and making the methods more clearly defined could have allowed risk assessors to overcome analysis and reporting shortcomings. Unless authors of toxicogenomics studies make their data and methods transparent and reproducible, their studies will be of little utility to risk assessors and are unlikely to inform future human health risk assessments.