Group EVOGENERATE established within the Ecological Risk Assessment Global
During the meeting of the Ecological Risk Assessment Advisory Group
(ERA AG) at the SETAC NA Long Beach Conference (14 November 2012), the
establishment of a new working group was presented. The new working group is
called "EVOlutionary and multi-GENERATional Effects of
chemicals” (acronym: EVOGENERATE).
A possibly important problems in current ecotoxicity testing procedures
or risk assessment approaches is that these do usually not consider effects
beyond single generations of exposed organisms. Yet, under continuous
multi-generational exposure offspring may show lower show lower (e.g.
acclimation to metals) or higher sensitivity to chemicals than their parent(s).
Furthermore, an offspring's sensitivity to chemicals and that of even later
generations may be affected by their parents' (or grandparents') prior
exposure, even long after exposure has ceased (=trans-generational and/or
epigenetic effects). Finally, in a population context, (micro)-evolutionary mechanisms
(such as selection, mutation, genetic drift, and gene flow may be induced or
altered by chemicals over long exposure times. This would result in changes in
genetic composition of populations with possible consequences such as genetic
diversity loss, genetic adaptation, and costs of adaptation.
Although research activities in this area are currently increasing at a
rapid pace (in part fueled by the rapid advancement of omics technologies), an
important issue remains that most of this research is and has been mainly descriptive
and not fit for implementation in regulatory chemicals assessment and
management. The major aims of the EVOGENERATE working group are therefore to
(i) assess the regulatory significance of evolutionary and multigenerational
effects, (ii) raise awareness of such effects among academics, business and
regulators by supporting tri-partite activities, and (iii) to develop and
promote use of tools, methods and protocols to assess and predict evolutionary
and multigenerational effects, not only in an academic but also in a regulatory
Current chairs of this working group are Karel De Schamphelaere (Ghent
University, Belgium), Marie-Agnes Coutellec (INRA, France) and Carlos Barata (IDAEA-CSIC,
If you are interested in joining this working group and/or actively want
to contribute to achieving our aims, please let us know via