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1 September 2016 The Exposome: A New Frontier for Education
Kristine K. Dennis, Dean P. Jones
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The historic debate of nature vs. nurture has emerged as a central yin-yang of contemporary health and disease research. The Human Genome Project provided the capability to define the nature of an individual by one's genetic sequence. But tools are not available to sequence lifelong exposures (i.e., the nurture of an individual). Many believe that nurture has an even greater role than genetics in determining lifelong success, health, and well-being. In contemporary terminology, the cumulative measure of environmental influences and associated biological responses throughout the life span is termed the exposome. This includes all external exposures from the environment, diet, behavior, societal influences and infections, and also cumulative biological responses to exposures and endogenous processes. Pursuit of a “Human Exposome Project” is a vision worthy of our youth: development of strategies and tools will require the brightest and most imaginative. Incorporation of the exposome into education curricula will foster discussion, development of interest, improvement of skills, and promotion of critical thinking to prepare students for civically engaged lives, ongoing study, and future career opportunities. The longterm vision is that sequencing the exposome will support better understanding of healthful and harmful lifelong exposures and lead to improved opportunity for the health and prosperity of all.

© 2016 National Association of Biology Teachers. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Reprints and Permissions web page,
Kristine K. Dennis and Dean P. Jones "The Exposome: A New Frontier for Education," The American Biology Teacher 78(7), 542-548, (1 September 2016).
Published: 1 September 2016

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Critical thinking
cumulative exposures
environmental health
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