Effects of environmental toxicants reach down through generations
From the 2 March 2012 article at Science News Daily
Washington State University researcher has demonstrated that a variety of environmental toxicants can have negative effects on not just an exposed animal but the next three generations of its offspring.
The animal’s DNA sequence remains unchanged, but the compounds change the way genes turn on and off — the epigenetic effect studied at length by WSU molecular biologist Michael Skinner and expanded on in the current issue of the online journalPLoS ONE.
While Skinner’s earlier research has shown similar effects from a pesticide and fungicide, this is the first to show a greater variety of toxicants — including jet fuel, dioxin, plastics and the pesticides DEET and permethrin — promoting epigenetic disease across generations…
The field opens new ground in the study of how diseases develop. While toxicologists generally focus on animals exposed to a compound, Skinner’s work further demonstrates that diseases can also stem from older, ancestral exposures that are then mediated through epigenetic changes in sperm.
The study was funded by the U.S. Army to study pollutants that troops might be exposed to. Skinner and his colleagues exposed pregnant female rats to relatively high but non-lethal amounts of the compounds and tracked changes in three generations of offspring.
The researchers saw females reaching puberty earlier, increased rates in the decay and death of sperm cells and lower numbers of ovarian follicles that later become eggs. Future studies can use the molecular tools for risk assessment analysis
- Effects of environmental toxicants reach down through generations (eurekalert.org)
- Epigenetics research continues: Variety of toxicants can harm subsequent generations (wsunews.wsu.edu)
- You Might Be Infertile Because Your Grandparents Were Mucking Around in Harmful Chemicals [Science] (gizmodo.com)
- Pollutants long gone, but disease carries on (sciencenews.org)
- Epigenetics and Drug Addiction (epigenomics.wordpress.com)
- Epigenetics: A Turning Point in our Understanding of Heredity (blogs.scientificamerican.com)
- Linking everyday chemicals to disease: New science keeps on intensifying the writing on the wall (blogs.edf.org)
- EPA Supports Environmental Justice for New Jersey Farm Workers (treehugger.com)
- The US Environmental Remediation Services Industry to Reach US$8.29 Billion by 2015, According to New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. (prweb.com)
- Mobile App Helps Public Keep an Eye on Toxic Neighbors (prweb.com)
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