programming languages, also can improve modeling transparency and can better match complexity needs to computational tools.

EXPANSION OF MEASUREMENT SYSTEMS

The relationship of models to measurements has been a critical issue throughout the history of modeling. The rapid increase of information about environmental processes, human-environment interactions, and human and environmental impacts brings new challenges to this relationship in the future. The spectrum of new information that will be available to the environmental regulatory process is vast and beyond the scope of this report. Two examples are discussed to indicate the diverse sources of information that have the potential to be available to modeling.

One end of the spectrum could be considered the genomics revolution, which has enabled the analysis of all the genes in a cell at the DNA, mRNA, protein, or metabolite level (NRC 2006b). These tools can be used to better understand the susceptibility of individuals or subpopulations to chemicals, as well as their responses to chemicals (toxicogenomics). For example, genomics tools provide a means to examine changes in gene expression and to examine how these indicators might be used to understand human health impacts (EPA 2004g). Although the capability to understand the potential for toxicants to impact human genes has been present for many years, the innovation of high throughput testing technologies has profoundly expanded the capability to better measure genomic changes (NRC 2006b). The dramatically increasing amounts of information from genomic technologies have spawned a new science called infomatics to enable orderly analysis of vast data sets. Infomatics includes a wide variety of statistical and other computational models at the “research” level rather than at the “regulatory” level at this time. However, substantially more sophisticated computational toxicology methods, including the use of computational models of biological systems and phenomena, will be needed to link genomics data to quantitative estimates of human health risks before the full potential for this information will be realized (NRC 2006b).

Another end of the spectrum of measurement systems that will influence regulatory modeling is the rapid increase in data from environmental satellites and weather data (Foley 2005). The information from these systems provides a truly global climate observation system as well



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement