Fluorescent Tadpoles Expose Chemical Contamination

Scientists at Watchdog, a French-based pharmaceutical and environmental company, developed transgenic tadpole that lights up when exposed to water containing chemical contaminants. The study aims to elucidate a type of endocrine-disrupting pollutants that the pollution regulators have been monitoring firmly. They are concerned because of the growing evidence on some synthetic chemicals present in insecticides, herbicides, fumigants, fungicides, detergents, resins, and plasticizers, which may disrupt the body's endocrine system, which emits hormones or natural chemical messengers. These synthetic chemicals can mimic hormones and block their receptors, thus altering hormonal levels. For instance, altering thyroid hormones could affect brain development, metabolism, and aging.

Barbara Demeneix, one of the scientists, combined a marker, which is a gene for jellyfish protein that fluoresces green, with a DNA sequence that turns on the protein in the thyroid hormones or contaminants mimicking them are present. Thus, the system shows when the metamorphosis of the tadpole is induced or impeded.

For more details, read the original article at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=transgenic-tadpole-glows-to-reveal-chemical-contamination.


This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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