Author(s): Hose JE, Brown ED
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Abstract Several large-scale genotoxicity assessments have been performed in coastal marine areas that have demonstrated either localized or widespread genetic effects resulting from human activity. One common assessment method is the anaphase aberration test, a measurement of abnormal chromosome division, using embryolarval fishes. It can be used to detect the presence of mutagens within a poorly characterized complex mixture or monitor specific genotoxins and is easily adapted for laboratory screening. One comprehensive marine genotoxicity assessment was conducted using Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi) following the Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS) in Prince William Sound (PWS), AK in late March 1989. In early May, genetic damage was detected at many sites within the oil trajectory and was correlated with concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons characteristic of Exxon Valdez oil (EVO) in intertidal mussels. Effects were related spatially and temporally to oil exposure. Anaphase aberration rates decreased throughout May and June 1989, and by 1991, genotoxicity was undetectable. The abundance of the 1989 herring year class in PWS is significantly reduced; this is the first reported example linking genotoxicity to subsequent population level effects. This review describes the methodology for the anaphase aberration test using fish eggs, its applications for large-scale assessments and supportive laboratory studies, and its limitations for prediction of higher level effects on populations.
This article was published in Mutat Res
and referenced in Fisheries and Aquaculture Journal