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Brazilian Journal of Oceanography

Print version ISSN 1679-8759On-line version ISSN 1982-436X

Abstract

VILLAR, Silvia; KANDRATAVICIUS, Noelia; MARTINEZ, Stefanie  and  MUNIZ, Pablo. Single cell gel electrophoresis as a tool to assess genetic damage in Heleobia cf. australis (Mollusca: Gastropoda) as sentinel for industrial and domestic pollution in Montevideo bay (Uruguay). Braz. j. oceanogr. [online]. 2015, vol.63, n.3, pp.347-354. ISSN 1679-8759.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1679-87592015090906303.

The knowledge of the extent of DNA damage in aquatic organisms in polluted areas is an important issue because contamination may alter their health at sublethal levels. Although molluscs have been widely used to monitor water pollution, there are no records of in vivo genotoxicity studies. Heleobia cf. australis, is distributed in almost all Uruguayan coastal ecosystems, including highly polluted sites. The comet assay is a damage genetic biomarker based on the migration of negatively charged DNA fragments produced by mutagenic agents in individual cells. Live individuals were collected in the Montevideo Bay (impacted area) and Laguna Garzón (control) to analyze the presence of mutagenic agents in the former site through comet assay. Cells from organisms of the impacted area showed significantly higher levels of genetic damage than those obtained in the control population, measured by percentage of DNA in the tail. Although preliminary, this approach supports the idea that H. cf. australis could be used as a sentinel to evaluate the presence of mutagenic agents in estuarine environments, alerting to the impact of contamination in its early stages.

Keywords : Comet assay; Genotoxicity; Gastropods; Pollution; Estuarine system; Río de la Plata.

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