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Flow cytometry in marine environmental research


, : Flow cytometry in marine environmental research. Periodicum Biologorum 101(2): 151-155, July

Background and purpose: Exposure of marine organisms to environmental contaminants is a global problem. In order to establish effective pollution, control measurement for water conservation, besides emission and contaminant levels, their effect on hereditary material (DNA) must be taken into consideration. Better understanding of responses of the organism to these environmental impacts could be obtained by flow cytometry analysis of cellular DNA content. Materials and methods: The DNA content of hemocytes of the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis transferred from uncontaminated mariculture area to the area contaminated with industrial waste waters ("mussel watch") was investigated. The measurement of DNA content using flow cytometry is based on the ability of certain fluorescent dyes (DAPI) to bind stoichiometrically to DNA under appropriate staining conditions. By comparing the intensity of each mussel hemocyte to the intensity of each hemocyte containing normal diploid amounts of DNA, the relative quantity of DNA in the hemocytes of interest is determined. Results and conclusions: For the first time it was shown that hemocyte DNA content in the mussels from the vicinity of Rovinj, Istrian coast, Northern Adriatic, Croatia, was influenced by industrial waste waters. We can conclude that G1-arrest and G2-delay appear to represent an active response to DNA damage in mussel hemocytes caused by environmental contamination. Thus, applications of flow cytometry in marine environmental research give us information about health status of organisms as well as about environmental conditions themselves.

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