A Review of Genomic Techniques in Cosmetics Testing

Editor’s note: Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine wishes to acknowledge that this article by Remona Gopaul is the first based on a capstone project for the University of Cincinnati’s Masters in Cosmetic Science program, led by R. Randall Wickett, PhD. Cosmetics & Toiletries anticipates future articles from students of this program.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) contains the genetic information needed for the development and functioning of all living organisms,1 and as most elementary level science students will know, the segments of DNA that carry this genetic information are known as genes. Information can travel from DNA to messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) through a process called transcription, from mRNA to complementary DNA (cDNA) via reverse transcription, and from mRNA to protein via translation, as illustrated in Figure 1.1 By identifying which mRNAs are present in a cell, one can understand which genes are active in that specific cell type.

With the completion of the Human Genome Project and advancement of genomic technologies, cosmetic companies have begun to utilize genomic techniques to understand the expression of genes and their relationship to particular skin attributes, as well as to test topical ingredients and formulations.

Genomic testing can be conducted on a small scale via techniques that measure the expression of single genes or small groups of genes, or on a global scale via methods that measure the expression of thousands of genes simultaneously in one experiment.2 A combination of different techniques is the best approach to investigate the gene expression profile of skin under different conditions.

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