[Pharmwaste] Fluorescent fish glows to show feminising chemicals up

DeBiasi, Deborah (DEQ) Deborah.DeBiasi at deq.virginia.gov
Tue Aug 23 10:31:28 EDT 2011


Fluorescent fish glows to show feminising chemicals up 
*	10 June 2011 
*	Magazine issue 2816 <http://www.newscientist.com/issue/2816> . 
FOR people worried about the feminising effect of oestrogen-like
chemicals in the water there is now a modern-day equivalent of the
canary in the coal mine: a genetically modified fish in a bowl.
Male fish exposed to oestrogen have delayed sperm development and grow
smaller testes. Some industrial chemicals, such as bisphenol A, mimic
oestrogen, but little is known about how the effects of different
oestrogen-like chemicals add up in water.
To find out, Xueping Chen and colleagues at Vitargent, a biotechnology
company in Hong Kong, have created a genetically engineered fish that
glows green when it is exposed to oestrogen-like chemicals. Chen's team
took the green fluorescent protein gene from jellyfish and spliced it
into the genome of the medaka fish, Oryzias melastigma, next to a gene
that detects oestrogen. Chemicals that have oestrogen-like activity
cause the fish to express the modified gene, making them glow.
When the team tested the fish at eight sites around Hong Kong, they
found that some chemicals that showed weak or no oestrogenic activity,
including UV filters used in sunscreen, had combined in water to amplify
or create an oestrogenic effect. The work is as yet unpublished.
William Price of the University of Wollongong in New South Wales,
Australia, warns the approach does not detect a biological response.
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Deborah L. DeBiasi
Email:   Deborah.DeBiasi at deq.virginia.gov
WEB site address:  www.deq.virginia.gov
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Office of Water Permit and Compliance Assistance Programs
Industrial Pretreatment/Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) Program
PPCPs, EDCs, and Microconstituents 
Mail:          P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA  23218
Location:  629 E. Main Street, Richmond, VA  23219
PH:         804-698-4028      FAX:      804-698-4032

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