Fluorescent fish for quick detection of a product's toxicity

Fluorescent fish for quick detection of a product’s toxicity

The marketing of chemical products may have experienced a major breakthrough: Researchers have developed a method to determine their toxicity in a matter of weeks instead of several years due to the observation of fluorescent fish. the explanation.

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It usually takes several years between the time a chemical hits the market and until it is known that it is responsible for developmental disorders of the reproductive system in the fetus. Thanks to two researchers at the University of California at Davis, this delay was reduced to just a few weeks! To reach such a conclusion he was interested not in rats, but in rats denmark rerioA new species of zebrafish. “Seventy percent of its genes are equivalent in humans, which are called orthologous genes”., explains Bruce Draper, one of the two researchers, in a press release. Except that, unlike us, her sex is determined not by X or Y chromosomes, but by her environment! In captivity, about one in two fish are male. On the other hand, if fish larvae are exposed to chemicals that inhibit egg production (oogenesis) in females, this ratio increases.

genetically modified fish

So the two collaborators genetically modified the fish so that they presented a different fluorescent color according to their sex, visible from the fortieth week after fertilization. Male gonads produce green proteins, while female ovules produce red proteins. “We should be able to determine the sex of a herd of 80 animals almost instantly, just by snapping a picture! , Bruce Draper gets excited. An unusually high percentage of either male or female, or intersex animals, would indicate that the chemical is toxic to the reproductive system. A method that could be applied to a large number of chemicals and could be far more efficient than current experiments on mice.


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