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MEETING REPORT ASSESSING HUMAN GERM-CELL MUTAGENESIS IN THE POST-GENOME ERA: A CELEBRATION OF THE LEGACY OF WILLIAM LAWSON (BILL) RUSSELL
WYROBEK, A. J., J. J. MULVIHILL, J. S. WASSOM, H. V. MALLING, M. D. SHELBY, S. E. LEWIS, K. L. WITT, J. PRESTON, S. PERREAULT-DARNEY, J. W. ALLEN, D. M. DEMARINI, R. P. WOYCHIK, AND J. B. BISHOP. MEETING REPORT ASSESSING HUMAN GERM-CELL MUTAGENESIS IN THE POST-GENOME ERA: A CELEBRATION OF THE LEGACY OF WILLIAM LAWSON (BILL) RUSSELL. ENVIRONMENTAL AND MOLECULAR MUTAGENESIS. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Indianapolis, IN, 48(2):71-95, (2007).
to assess the applicability of emerging molecular methods for genomic analysis to the field of human germ-cell mutagenesis
Although numerous germ-cell mutagens have been identified in animal model systems, to date, no human germ-cell mutagens have been confirmed. Because the genomic integrity of our germ cells is essential for the continuation of the human species, a resolution of this enduring conundrum is needed. To facilitate such a resolution, we organized a workshop at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine on September 28-30, 2004. This interactive workshop brought together scientists from a wide range of disciplines to assess the applicability of emerging molecular methods for genomic analysis to the field of human germ-cell mutagenesis. Participants recommended that focused, coordinated human germ-cell mutation studies be conducted in relation to important societal exposures. Because cancer survivors represent a unique cohort with well-defined exposures, there was a consensus that studies should be designed to assess the mutational impact on children born to parents who had received certain types of mutagenic cancer chemotherapy prior to conceiving their children. Within this high-risk cohort, parents and children could be evaluated for inherited changes in (a) gene sequences and chromosomal structure, (b) repeat sequences and minisatellite regions, and (c) global gene expression and chromatin. Participants also recommended studies to examine trans-generational effects in humans involving mechanisms such as changes in imprinting and methylation patterns, expansion of nucleotide repeats, or induction of mitochondrial DNA mutations. Workshop participants advocated establishment of a bio-bank of human tissue samples that could be used to conduct a multiple-endpoint, comprehensive, and collaborative effort to detect exposure-induced heritable alterations in the human genome. Appropriate animal models of human germ-cell mutagenesis should be used in parallel with human studies to provide insights into the mechanisms of mammalian germ-cell mutagenesis. Finally, participants recommended that scientific specialty groups be convened to address specific questions regarding the potential germ-cell mutagenicity of environmental, occupational, and lifestyle exposures. Strong support from relevant funding agencies and engagement of scientists outside the fields of genomics and germ-cell mutagenesis will be required to launch a full-scale assault on some of the most pressing and enduring questions in environmental mutagenesis: Do human germ-cell mutagens exist, what risk do they pose to future generations, and are some parents at higher risk than others for acquiring and transmitting germ-cell mutations?