Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Effects of environmental toxicants reach down through generations

Date:
March 2, 2012
Source:
Washington State University
Summary:
Scientists have now 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, according to molecular biologists. 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.

A woman spraying pesticides.
Credit: JackF / Fotolia

A 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 journal PLoS 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.

"We didn't expect them all to have transgenerational effects, but all of them did," Skinner said. "I thought hydrocarbon would be negative but it was positive too."

This tells researchers that the ability to promote transgenerational disease is "not simply a unique aspect for a unique compound" but a characteristic of many environmental compounds.

Researchers tested a pesticide mixture (permethrin and insect repellant DEET), a plastic mixture (bisphenol A and phthalates), dioxin (TCDD) and a hydrocarbon mixture (jet fuel, JP8).

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 work also points the way to identify and diagnose exposures through the use of specific epigenetic molecular markers.

"In the future we might be able to use these epigenetic biomarkers to determine your ancestral and personal exposure early in life and to predict your susceptibility to get a disease later in life," Skinner said.

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington State University. The original article was written by Eric Sorensen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mohan Manikkam, Carlos Guerrero-Bosagna, Rebecca Tracey, Md. M. Haque, Michael K. Skinner. Transgenerational Actions of Environmental Compounds on Reproductive Disease and Identification of Epigenetic Biomarkers of Ancestral Exposures. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (2): e31901 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031901

Cite This Page:

Washington State University. "Effects of environmental toxicants reach down through generations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120302101821.htm>.
Washington State University. (2012, March 2). Effects of environmental toxicants reach down through generations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120302101821.htm
Washington State University. "Effects of environmental toxicants reach down through generations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120302101821.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins