DanTox—a novel joint research project using zebrafish (Danio rerio) to identify specific toxicity and molecular modes of action of sediment-bound pollutants
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The European Water Framework Directive aims to achieve a good ecological and chemical status in surface water of European rivers by the year 2015. Since sediments and particulate matter act as secondary sources for pollutants, applied sediment toxicology is perceived to play a major role for obtaining new knowledge that can contribute to successful attainment of the goal. However, the existing bioassays for sediment toxicity analyses do not provide sufficient data concerning bioavailability of environmental pollutants. In this regard, there is an urgent need to combine sediment contact assays with gene expression analysis to investigate mechanism-specific sediment toxicity.
The aim of the novel joint research project is to develop a eukaryotic test system, which can be used to investigate the ecotoxicological effects of contaminated sediments on gene expression level (DNA-array and RT-PCR). Current ecotoxicological research customarily involves a battery of bioassays to cover different toxicological endpoints (e.g., teratogenicity, genotoxicity, mutagenicity, Ah-receptor-mediated toxicity, neurotoxicity). In contrast, methods that detect alterations in gene expression offer deeper insight by elucidating how chemical exposure and/or environmental challenge affect multiple metabolic pathways leading to these particular kinds of toxic response. Gene expression profiles reflect the way cells and organisms adapt or respond to a changing environment.
The present project aspires to increase the fundamental molecular and physiological knowledge concerning the mode of action of environmental toxicants in zebrafish (Danio rerio). By working with partners from the academic and research institutions as well as from industry and waterway regulations, the success of this basic research-driven joint project in terms of development and implementation of novel sediment toxicity methods will be realized.
KeywordsDanio rerio Genomics Sediments Toxicity
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