Meeting Abstract

S7-10  Monday, Jan. 6 14:00 - 14:30  Omics in Non-Model Species: Closing the Loop Among Genes, Molecular Systems, and Phenotypes to predict Adverse Outcomes to Environmental Stress GUST, KA; US Army, Engineer Research and Development Center, Environmental Laboratory, Vicksburg, MS

Omics technologies have been instrumental in characterizing the impacts of environmental stressors and stressor combinations in non-model species of concern to the US Army. The use of omics investigations has provided mechanistic and systems-level understanding of stressor impacts for species ranging from birds, lizards and amphibians to fish and coral. Recent results include functional transcriptomics expression correlations with clinical toxicological phenotypes in Western fence lizards which demonstrated the remarkable robustness of immune responses to lizard malaria infection under combined stressor exposures to food limitation and trinitrotoluene exposures. Additionally, meta-transcriptomics investigations among coal and commensal algal zooxanthellae coupled with histochemical analyses indicated heightened sensitivity to 1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5 triazine (RDX) exposure in the zooxanthellae compromising energy production within the coral holobiont. As a final example, transcriptomics, proteomics, lipidomics and in vitro assays conducted across non-model species (birds and fish) and model species (rodent and human) were integrated to establish a robust Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) connecting molecular initiating events, key metabolic, cellular and physiological events to the adverse outcomes of lethargy and weight loss caused by nitrotoluene exposure; the mechanisms of which had remained elusive for over 100 years prior. Overall, omics-based experimental investigations have accelerated expression-to-phenotype discoveries in stressor biology providing unprecedented robustness in systems-level screening for non-model organisms.