Aneuploidy Induced by Agricultural Pesticides: Where Do We Stand?

  • Baldev K. Vig
Part of the Basic Life Sciences book series


Even though aneuploidy is one of the worst afflictions of man, efforts to develop a mammalian test system for the study of induced nondisjunction have largely failed. A few scattered successes usually deal with Drosophila, fungi, plants, and mammalian cell cultures. The present paper discusses possible avenues to be explored for developing reliable test systems. These include: (i) epidemiological studies, (ii) analysis of fluorescent Y bodies, (iii) direct visualization of sperm chromosomes, (iv) analysis of out-of-phase centromere separation sequences, and (v) the soybean spot test.

Currently there is no satisfactory explanation for (i) a lack of mutagen-induced nondisjunction, (ii) the repeated occurrence of births of trisomic children to some couples, (iii) the astounding success of selection of a rare disomic sperm for fertilizing an egg in the presence of millions of normal ones, and (iv) having twice as many errors occurring in meiosis I as in meiosis II. An hypothesis is presented which suggests that out-of-phase separation of a centromere during early embryogenesis results in formation of mosaic individuals. Such mosaicism for a given chromosome in the gametic tissue would account for all the dilemmas mentioned above. Some supporting evidence for this concept is presented. It requires a new look at the mechanism of the origin and potential of transmission of aneusomic gametes.


Down Syndrome Meiotic Division Mitotic Chromosome Aspergillus Nidulans Methyl Thiophanate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alfi, O., Chang, R., and Azen, S. P., 1980, Evidence for genetic control of nondisjunction in man, Am. J. Hum. Genet., 32:477–483.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Azevado, J. L., Santana, E. P., and Bonatelli, R., 1977, Resistance and mitotic instability to chloroneb and 1,4-oxathin in Aspergillus nidulans, Mutat. Res., 48:163–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bajnoczky, K., Meggyessy, V., and Mehés, K., 1980, Cytogenetic investigations in prednisolone-treated infants, Acta Paediat. Acad. Seien. Hungaricae, 21:139–143.Google Scholar
  4. Belcheva, R. G., Konstantinov, G. H., Ilieva, H. L., 1980, Sequence of centromere separation in mitotic chromosomes of Rana ridibunda, Pall. (Amphibia, Anura) Compt. R. Acad. Bulg. Sci., 33:1689–1692.Google Scholar
  5. Bignami, M., Aulicino, F., Velcich, A., Carere, A., and Morpurgo, G., 1977, Mutagenic and recombinogenic action of pesticides in Aspergillus nidulans, Mutat. Res., 46:395–402.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bryant, M. L., and Murnik, M. R., 1979, Mutagenicity of the herbicide trifluralin in Drosophila melanogaster, Genetics, 91(suppl.): s15.Google Scholar
  7. Chandley, A., and Speed, R. M., 1979, Testing for non-disjunction in the mouse, Environ. Health Perspect., 31:123–129.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Denniston, C., 1982, Low level radiation and genetic risk estimation in man, Ann. Rev. Genet., 16:329–355.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. de Serres, F. J., 1979, Aneuploidy as a human health problem of significance in environmental mutagenesis, Environ. Health Perspect., 31:1–2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Farook, A., and Vig, B. K., 1980, Sequence of centromere separation: Analysis of mitotic chromosomes of Crepis capillaris and Haplopappus gracilis, Biol. Zbl., 99:675–682.Google Scholar
  11. Figueroa, M., and Vig, B. K., 1983, Sequence of centromere separation: Lack of Colcemid effect on the Chinese hamster genome, Cytogenet. Cell Genet., 36:627–632.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fitzgerald, P. H., and McEwan, C. M., 1977, Total aneuploidy and age-related sex chromosome aneuploidy in cultured lymphocytes of normal men and women, Hum. Genet., 39:329–337.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fitzgerald, P. H., Pickering, A. F., Mercer, J. M., Miethke, P. M., 1975, Premature centromere division: A mechanism of non-disjunction causing X chromosome aneuploidy in somatic cells of man, Ann. Hum. Genet., 38:417–428.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fraser, L. R., and Maudlin, I., 1979, Analysis of aneuploidy in first-cleavage mouse embryo fertilized in vivo and in vitro, Environ. Health Perspect., 31:141–149.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Galloway, S., and Buckton, K. E., 1978, Aneuploidy and ageing: Chromosome studies on a random sample of the population using G-banding, Cytogenet. Cell Genet., 20:78–95.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Georgopoulos, S. G., Kappas, A., and Hastie, A. C., 1976, Induced sectoring in diploid Aspergillus nidulans as a criterion of fungitoxicity by interference with hereditary processes, Phytopathology, 66:217–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Harris, D. J., Begleiter, M. L., Chamberlin, J., Hankins, L., and Magenis, R. E., 1982, Parental trisomy 21 mosaicism., Am. J. Hum. Genet., 34:125–133.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Hecht, F., 1982, Unexpected encounters in cytogenetics: Repeated abortions and parental sex chromosome mosaicism may indicate risk of nondisjunction, Am. J. Hum. Genet., 34:514–516.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Kapp, R. W., 1979, Detection of aneuploidy in human sperm, Environ. Health Perspect., 31:27–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kappas, A., 1978, On the mechanisms of induced somatic recombination by certain fungicides in Aspergillus nidulans, Mutat. Res., 51:189–197.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kappas, A., Georgopoulos, S. G., and Hastie, A. C., 1974, On the genetic activity of benzimidazole and thiophanate fungicides on diploid Aspergillus nidulans, Mutat. Res., 26:11–21.Google Scholar
  22. Laamanen, I., Sorsa, M., Bamford, D., Gripenberg, U., and Meretoja, T., 1976, Mutagenicity and toxicity of amitrole. I. Drosophila tests, Mutat. Res., 40:185–190.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Liang, G. H., and Liang, Y. T. S., 1972, Effects of atrazine on chromosomal behavior in sorghum, Can. J. Genet. Cytol., 14:423–427.Google Scholar
  24. Linnainmaa, K., Sorsa, M., Carlberg, G., Gripenberg, U., and Meretoja, T., 1977, Mutagenicity of Bacillus thuringiensis exotoxin. II. Submammalian tests, Hereditas, 85:113–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Magnusson, J., Ramel, C., and Eriksson, A., 1977, Mutagenic effects of chlorinated phenoxyacetic acids in Drosophila melanogaster, Hereditas, 87:121–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Martin, R. H., Lin, C. C., Balkan, W., and Burns, K., 1982, Direct chromosomal analysis of human spermatozoa: preliminary results from 18 normal men, Am. J. Hum. Genet., 34:459–468.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Menés, K., 1975, Nonrandom anaphase segregation of mitotic chromosomes, Acta Genet. Med. Gamellol., 24:175.Google Scholar
  28. Menés, K., 1978, Nonrandom centromere division: a mechanism of non-disjunction causing aneuploidy? Hum. Hered., 28:225–260.Google Scholar
  29. Miltenburger, H. G., Singh, J. R., and Barth, B. M., 1980, The effect of cyclophosphamide and isoniazid (INH) alone and in combination on the centromere separation sequence in Chinese hamster bone marrow cells, Hum. Genet., 54:93–96.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Murata, M., and Vig, B. K., 1980, Sequence of centromere separation: Analysis of mitotic chromosomes in a reconstructed karyotype of Vicia faba (L.), Biol. Zbl., 99:683–693.Google Scholar
  31. Murnik, M. R., 1976, Mutagenicity of widely used herbicides, Genetics, 83: s54.Google Scholar
  32. Newcombe, H. G., 1979, Measuring the public health impact of the aneuploidies, Environ. Health Perspect., 31:3–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Oliver, J. M., Krawiec, J. A., and Berlin, R. D., 1978, A carbarmate herbicide causes microtubule and microfilament disruption and nuclear fragmentation in fibroblasts, Exp. Cell Res., 116:229–237.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Onfelt, A., and Ramel, C., 1979, Some aspects on the organization of microfilaments and microtubules in relation to non-disjunction, Environ. Health Perspect., 31:45–52.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Russell, L. B., and Montgomery, C. S., 1974, The incidence of sex chromosome anomalies following irradiation of mouse spermatogonia with single or fractionated doses of X-rays, Mutat. Res., 25:367–376.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sankaranarayanan, K., 1979, The role of non-disjunction in aneuploidy in man. An overview, Mutat. Res., 61:1–28.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Seiler, J. P., 1976, The mutagenicity of benzimidazole and benzimidazole derivatives. VI. Cytogenetic effects of benzimidazole derivatives in the bone marrow of the mouse and the Chinese hamster, Mutat. Res., 40:339–347.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sharma, C. B. S. R., and Sahu, R. K., 1977, Cytogenetic hazards from agricultural chemicals. I. A preliminary study on the responses of root meristems to exotoxin from Bacillus thuringiensis, a constituent of a microbial insecticide, thuricide, Mutat. Res., 46:19–26.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Shirasu, Y., Moriya, M., Kato, K., Tezuka, H., Henmi, R., Shingu, A., Kaneda, M., and Teramoto, S., 1978, Mutagenicity testing on o-phenylphenol, Mutat. Res., 54:227.Google Scholar
  40. Singh, J. R., and Miltenburger, H. G., 1977, The effect of cyclophosphamide on the centromere separation sequence in Chinese hamster spermatogonia, Hum. Genet., 39:359–362.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sorsa, M., and Gripenberg, U., 1976, Organization of a mutagenicity test system combining instructive purposes: testing for mutagenic effects of the herbicide “amitrole,” Mutat. Res., 38:132–133.Google Scholar
  42. Tates, A. D., Pearson, P. L., and Geraedts, J. P. M., 1975, Identification of X and Y spermatozoa in the northern vole, Microtus oeconomus, J. Reprod. Fert., 42:195–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Vachkova-Petrova, R., 1980, Mutagenicity study of the organophosphate pyrasophos in rats, Mutat. Res., 74:236–237.Google Scholar
  44. Vargová, M., Poláková, H., Podstavková, S., Sisková, A., and Dolan, L., 1980, Evaluation of the mutagenic effect of the new fungicide trimorphamide, Mutat. Res., 73:361–367.Google Scholar
  45. Verschaeve, L., Kirsch-Volders, M., Hens, L., and Susanne, C., 1978, Chromosome distribution studies in phenyl mercury acetate exposed subjects and in age-related controls, Mutat. Res., 57:335–347.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Vig, B. K., 1975, Soybean (Glycine max): A new test system for study of genetic parameters as affected by environmental mutagens, Mutat. Res., 31:49–56.Google Scholar
  47. Vig, B. K., 1978, Somatic mosaicism in plants with special reference to somatic crossing over, Environ. Health Perspect., 27:27–36.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Vig, B. K., 1981a, Sequence of centromere separation: Analysis of mitotic chromosomes in man, Hum. Genet., 57:247–252.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Vig, B. K., 1981b, Sequence of centromere separation: An analysis of mitotic chromosomes from long-term culture of Potorous cells, Cytogenet. Cell Genet., 31:129–136.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Vig, B. K., 1982, Sequence of centromere separation: Role of centromeric heterochromatin, Genetics, 102:795–806.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Vig, B. K., 1983, Sequence of centromere separation: Occurrence, possible significance and control, Cancer Genet. Cytogenet., 8:249–274.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Vig, B. K., and Miltenburger, H. G., 1976, Sequence of centromere separation of mitotic chromosomes in Chinese hamster, Chromosoma, 55:75–80.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Baldev K. Vig
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of Nevada at RenoRenoUSA

Personalised recommendations