Drivers of and Obstacles to the Adoption of Toxicogenomics for Chemical Risk Assessment: Insights from Social Science Perspectives
Some 20 y ago, scientific and regulatory communities identified the potential of omics sciences (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics) to improve chemical risk assessment through development of toxicogenomics. Recognizing that regulators adopt new scientific methods cautiously given accountability to diverse stakeholders, the scope and pace of adoption of toxicogenomics tools and data have nonetheless not met the ambitious, early expectations of omics proponents.
Our objective was, therefore, to inventory, investigate, and derive insights into drivers of and obstacles to adoption of toxicogenomics in chemical risk assessment. By invoking established social science frameworks conceptualizing innovation adoption, we also aimed to develop recommendations for proponents of toxicogenomics and other new approach methodologies (NAMs).
We report findings from an analysis of 56 scientific and regulatory publications from 1998 through 2017 that address the adoption of toxicogenomics for chemical risk assessment. From this purposeful sample of toxicogenomics discourse, we identified major categories of drivers of and obstacles to adoption of toxicogenomics tools and data sets. We then mapped these categories onto social science frameworks for conceptualizing innovation adoption to generate actionable insights for proponents of toxicogenomics.
We identify the most salient drivers and obstacles. From 1998 through 2017, adoption of toxicogenomics was understood to be helped by drivers such as those we labeled Superior scientific understanding, New applications, and Reduced cost & increased efficiency but hindered by obstacles such as those we labeled Insufficient validation, Complexity of interpretation, and Lack of standardization. Leveraging social science frameworks, we find that arguments for adoption that draw on the most salient drivers, which emphasize superior and novel functionality of omics as rationales, overlook potential adopters’ key concerns: simplicity of use and compatibility with existing practices. We also identify two perspectives—innovation-centric and adopter-centric—on omics adoption and explain how overreliance on the former may be undermining efforts to promote toxicogenomics.
Pain, G., Hickey, G. Mondou, M., Crump, D., Hecker, M., Basu, N., Maguire, S. 2020. Drivers of and Obstacles to the Adoption of Toxicogenomics for Chemical Risk Assessment: Insights from Social Science Perspectives. Environmental Health Perspectives, https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP6500