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Old 02-18-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Bottom-feeding fish in the Hudson River have developed a gene that renders them immune to the toxic effects of PCBs, researchers say.

A genetic variant allows the fish to live in waters notoriously polluted by the now-banned industrial chemicals, and distinguishes the fish—Atlantic tomcod (Microgadus tomcod)—as one of the world’s fastest evolving populations.

"This is very, very rapid evolutionary change," said Isaac Wirgin, an environmental toxicologist at New York University’s School of Medicine, and the study's lead investigator. "Normally you think of evolution occurring in thousands to millions of years. You’re talking about all this occurring in 20 to 50 generations maybe.”
Hudson River Fish Evolve PCB Immunity
abstract here
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Vermont
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No way!

Don't you know that the fish now are just like the fish the Heavenly Father made them six thousand years ago?
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:33 PM
 
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Quote:
The adaptation occurs almost universally in Hudson River tomcod, but crops up only infrequently in two other tomcod populations—in Connecticut’s Niantic River and the Shinnecock Bay at Long Island’s south shore. The fact that it exists at all in those nearby populations leads the researchers to believe the Hudson Bay tomcod had the mutation at least to a low degree before the PCB onslaught.
If it turns out for certain that the fish had the mutation before the PCBs came into play, it'll be interesting to find out why.
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jaida View Post
If it turns out for certain that the fish had the mutation before the PCBs came into play, it'll be interesting to find out why.
i doubt they'll ever be able to determine exactly why; there's nothing to lead us to believe it was anything but a randomly occurring mutation. but it is interesting that a small population of these fish apparently possessed this mutation, which now has become so useful
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Old 02-21-2011, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Lead/Deadwood, SD
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Look at the entire scope with all species in the Hudson, and combine it with the number of each specie - it doesn't seem out of line that a fish could be born with some "defect" that turned out to be a benefit. That fish then lays thousands of eggs in an environment where the competition of other species is minimal and then it takes off exponentially from there. When people look at the "one" mutated animal and and say the odds of that make it seem so strange, I look at it say "well ya, but when looking at the number of species that exist eventually the odds will catch up" and in the meantime one specie is shown to be thriving in this environment while the others are being decimated. Now if all the species had suddenly developed this sudden change, That would be weird.
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Old 02-27-2011, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Texas
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Wonder if these fish can be eaten, or is it just a benefit for the fish.
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian.Pearson View Post
Wonder if these fish can be eaten, or is it just a benefit for the fish.
only the latter, i think. the mutation isn't one that makes the fish more efficient at detoxifying PCBs, so they almost surely still contain high levels- it just doesn't affect them as much as it would otherwise.

Quote:
Slight alterations—the deletion of only six base pairs in DNA of the AHR2 gene—appear to protect tomcod from PCBs, according to the study. Normally, when unaltered AHR2 binds to PCBs, it triggers a cascade of reactions that transmit the toxic effects of the compound. However, the study found that PCBs bind poorly to the variant AHRs, which apparently blunts the chemicals’ effects.
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