Assessing the Genotoxic Effects of Microparticulate Exposure in Drosophila Melanogaster
Snell, Terry W.
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Exposure to microparticulate matter and endocrine disruptors has been linked to severe pathological and disruptive effects on human health. Airborne microparticles are confirmed vectors for various pulmonary and cardiovascular conditions as well as adverse genotoxic and cytotoxic effects. Endocrine disruptors are especially detrimental since they selectively interfere with the sex hormone functions of the host organism and can potentially disrupt ecosystems by hindering reproduction in affected species. Despite the fact that there are numerous studies assessing the cytotoxic effects of airborne microparticulate matter, there is a clear deficiency of conclusive data and topical research assessing the genotoxic effects of microparticles on organisms. The aim of this study was to evaluate the significance of microparticulate exposure in an urbanized setting in order to assess whether anthropogenic causes are producing detrimentally quantifiable genotoxic effects and possibly endocrine disruption. Drosophila melanogaster was used as a model test subject to analyze for survivorship, induced genotoxicity, and distorted sex ratios across generations. Samples of microparticulate matter were collected from four locations of varying degrees of urbanization and incorporated into the parental generation and observed over two generations. Microparticulate exposure did in fact have an observable generational selection effect on D. melanogaster. We also observed distorted sex ratios in the F1 generation; however, endocrine disruption was not attributable to exposure. Based on a comet assay, we found clear indications that genotoxic damage was linked to the extent of microparticulate exposure.
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