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Microelectrophoretic study of environmentally induced DNA damage in fish and its use for early toxicity screening of freshwater bodies

Abstract

This study investigates the potential of the comet and micronucleus assays of fish DNA as a means of screening the toxicity of aquatic environments. Catla catla and Cirrhinus mrigala collected from the River Chenab in Pakistan were used as a case study for the application of comet and micronucleus techniques. Comet and micronucleus assays were used to compare DNA damage in C. catla and C. mrigala collected from polluted areas of the River Chenab and farmed fish. Atomic absorption spectrophotometry showed an acute level of toxicity from Cd, Cu, Mn, Zn, Pb, Cr, Sn, and Hg in river water. Comet assay showed significant (p < 0.05) DNA damage in C. catla representing 17.33 ± 2.42, 11.53 ± 2.14, and 14.17% DNA in the comet tail, averaged from three sites of the polluted area of the river. Tail moment was observed as 10.06 ± 2.71, 3.11 ± 0.74, and 14.70 ± 1.89, while olive moment was 8.85 ± 1.84, 3.83 ± 0.76, and 7.11 ± 0.73, respectively. Highly significant (p < 0.01) damage was reported in C. mrigala as 37.29 ± 2.51, 34.96 ± 2.53, and 38.80 ± 2.42% DNA in comet tail, tail moment was 23.48 ± 3.90, 19.78 ± 4.26, and 14.30 ± 1.82, and olive moment was 16.22 ± 2.04, 13.83 ± 1.96, and10.99 ± 0.90. Significant (p < 0.05) differences were observed in genotoxicity between farmed and polluted area fish. Micronucleus assay showed a similar picture of significant difference in respect to single and double micronucleus induction: i.e., 23.20 ± 4.19 and 2.80 ± 1.07‰ in C. catla and 44.80 ± 3.73 and 06.20 ± 0.97‰, respectively, in C. mrigala. Nuclear abnormalities were found as 6.00 ± 0.84 and 09.60 ± 1.72/thousand cells, respectively, in both species. The results of this study suggest that these novel fish DNA damage assays can be used as an expedient toxicity screening for aquatic environments.

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Acknowledgement

The authors (KAA & SM) would like to express their sincere appreciation to the Deanship of Scientific at King Saud University for its funding of this research through the Research Group Project no. RGP-1435-012.

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Correspondence to Bilal Hussain.

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Hussain, B., Sultana, T., Sultana, S. et al. Microelectrophoretic study of environmentally induced DNA damage in fish and its use for early toxicity screening of freshwater bodies. Environ Monit Assess 189, 115 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-017-5813-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-017-5813-x

Keywords

  • DNA fragmentation
  • Biomarker
  • Indian major carps
  • Genotoxicity