Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that oxidative stress associated with a variety of pathological conditions is one of the major causes of carcinogenesis. Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species contribute to genomic alterations, presumably followed by selection of the best-adapted proliferating cells in a given environment. Recent data suggest that there exist common signaling pathways for oxidative stress-associated carcinogenesis. So far, oxidative DNA damage has been assumed to be randomly distributed based on in vitro experiments, and localization of oxidative DNA damage in the genome in vivo has rarely been studied. However, by the use of novel techniques in combination with constructed genome databases, it was found that the localization of oxidative DNA appears to be not random in vivo. We propose to call this rather novel research area "oxygenomics". Not a few signaling pathways start from the recognition of DNA damage. Possible underlying principles should be elucidated in association with cell type, the function of each genomic location, and its transcriptional activity as well as chromatin status determining epigenetic information. Furthermore, this concept may contribute to the development of novel oxidative stress biomarkers. Thus, oxygenomics is a promising research area.
2006 by The Editorial Secretariat of JCBN