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Genetics and Molecular Biology

Print version ISSN 1415-4757On-line version ISSN 1678-4685


RIGONATO, Janaina; MANTOVANI, Mário Sérgio  and  JORDAO, Berenice Quinzani. Comet assay comparison of different Corbicula fluminea (Mollusca) tissues for the detection of genotoxicity . Genet. Mol. Biol. [online]. 2005, vol.28, n.3, pp.464-468. ISSN 1415-4757.

The comet assay was used to study the sensitivity of the widely distributed freshwater bivalve mollusk Corbicula fluminea to the DNA-damaging alkylating-agent methylmethane sulfonate (MMS). This study was undertaken to ascertain if C. fluminea is a good bioindicator of pollutants in aquatic environments and identify which C. fluminea tissue is most effective and practical for genotoxicity studies. The mollusks were exposed to 0.6, 1.2 or 2.4 X 10-4 M MMS for 40 min and their hemolymph, gill tissue and digestive gland tissue assessed for the level of DNA damage and the time needed for the tissues to recovery. Regression analysis showed a direct linear dose-response relationship between MMS concentration and the number of damaged cells for hemolymph and digestive gland tissue but a quadratic relationship for gill tissue, which made the interpretation the gill tissue results difficult. The basal level of DNA damage to gill tissue was very high, possibly because gill is the organs most directly exposed to environmental toxins and mutagenic agents. Although all three types of tissue produced useful results, hemolymph and digestive gland tissue produced more reproducible and reliable results. Hemolymph was the best sample type in that it was easy to obtain and handle, while gill tissue required more manipulation to obtain cell suspensions. Our results indicate that C. fluminea is an optimal bioindicator for the determination genotoxic contaminants in aquatic environments.

Keywords : Corbicula fluminea; hemolymph; gills; digestive gland; comet assay; biomonitoring.

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