The emerging field of translational safety genetics is providing new opportunities to enhance drug discovery and development. Genetic variation in therapeutic drug targets, off-target interactors and relevant drug metabolism/disposition pathways can contribute to diverse drug pharmacologic and toxicologic responses between different animal species, strains and geographic origins. Recent advances in the sequencing of rodent, canine, nonhuman primate, and minipig genomes have dramatically improved the ability to select the most appropriate animal species for preclinical drug toxicity studies based on genotypic characterization of drug targets/pathways and drug metabolism and/or disposition, thus avoiding inconclusive or misleading animal studies, consistent with the principles of the 3Rs (replacement, reduction and refinement). The genetic background of individual animals should also be taken into consideration when interpreting phenotypic outcomes from toxicity studies and susceptibilities to spontaneous safety-relevant background findings.
Keywords: animal species; cynomolgus monkey; genetic variation; genome; safety genetics; sequencing; toxicology.