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Aquat Toxicol. 2013 Oct 15;142-143:239-47. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2013.08.016. Epub 2013 Sep 4.

Minimally invasive transcriptome profiling in salmon: detection of biological response in rainbow trout caudal fin following exposure to environmental chemical contaminants.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Victoria, P.O. Box 3055, STN CSC, Victoria, BC V8W 3P6, Canada.


An increasing number of anthropogenic chemicals have demonstrated potential for disruption of biological processes critical to normal growth and development of wildlife species. Both anadromous and freshwater salmon species are at risk of exposure to environmental chemical contaminants that may affect migratory behavior, environmental fitness, and reproductive success. A sensitive metric in determination of the presence and impact of such environmental chemical contaminants is through detection of changes in the status of gene transcript levels using a targeted quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction assay. Ideally, the wildlife assessment strategy would incorporate conservation-centered non-lethal practices. Herein, we describe the development of such an assay for rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, following an acute 96 h exposure to increasing concentrations of either 17α-ethinyl estradiol or cadmium. The estrogenic screen included measurement of mRNA encoding estrogen receptor α and β isoforms, vitellogenin, vitelline envelope protein γ, cytochrome p450 family 19 subfamily A, aryl hydrocarbon receptor, and the stress indicator, catalase. The metal exposure screen included evaluation of the latter two mRNA transcripts along with those encoding the metallothionein A and B isoforms. Exposure-dependent transcript abundance profiles were detected in both liver and caudal fin supporting the use of the caudal fin as a non-lethally obtained tissue source. The potential for both transcriptome profiling and genotypic sex determination from fin biopsy was extended, in principle, to field-captured Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha).

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Estrogen; Fin biopsy; Gene expression; Metal; Non-lethal assay; Quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction; Salmonid

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