The interaction between genome and environment is essential for the proper functioning of an organism in a particular environment and is the result of long-term evolutionary processes that shape species. Environmental changes are initially caught by functional adjustments in the metabolism of an organism. However, severe environmental disturbances – whether from a chemical or physical nature – may cause perturbations in biological systems.
Society demands increasingly close scrutiny of the potential health risks, health benefits and environmental impact associated with exposures and lifestyle choices present in our everyday life. There is an increasing need for identification and functional characterization of mechanisms underlying environmental stressors and more predictive and accurate risk-assessment approaches. Developing such approaches requires a detailed mechanistic understanding of the ways in which xenobiotic influences (chemical, physical and radiological) affects biological systems and leads to adverse or positive outcomes. The investigation and the treatment of the resulting perturbation of the biological system require the development of new treatment procedures, new quality assurance and control procedures, traceability of measurements and development of reference standards for materials and methods.