Genetics news & views from students enrolled in BIOL 2110 at Stockton University.
Monday, December 11, 2017
The Barcode of Life: DNA bar coding of Fishes
Science now is
trying to compare fishes genetic barcodes against each other to see if they can
use the damage of the DNA to use it as a screen for polluted bodies of fresh
water. Two fish found in a river in Pakistan were utilized in the study,
spectrophotometry and the application of comet and micronucleus techniques singles
out specific toxic constituents of freshwater bodies that can compromise and
can be found affecting the DNA of these fishes.
The outcome of this study concluded
that DNA damage assays can indeed be used as fast toxicity screenings for
aquatic environments. Being able to test DNA for damage while barcoding and learning
about the environment that the fish has lived is a great second use that can be
gained while studying fishes and also can shed light onto issues with fisheries
and allude to any loose ends that science is yet to find answers.
The contamination of freshwater bodies
is a vital issue especially in developing countries. Fish play a critical role
in these areas where development is occurring and pollution causes a bioaccumulation
of substances that are then ingested by the local populations and this can
cause a ripple effect and cause health concerns for the people. The study used
two fish, one being a surface oriented feeder and one a benthic oriented feeder
to test them each for biomarkers of freshwater pollution via simple reliable
techniques such as comet and micronucleus assays.
Comet assays test for damaged cells
and toxicity and micronucleus assays test for genotoxicity, the combination of
the two tests lets scientists conclude with full confidence that based off of
the damage of a fishes DNA and the pollutants found in the fish it can be
extrapolated to give an idea of the water quality and conditions of where the
fish has lived.
This is important because genetic
science like this can be implemented in any waterway where fish are taken for
food to see if it will have a harmful effect on humans as well as give an idea
of the situation of that body of water. Without genetics and the aid of assays
a study like this would not be possible.