Superfund Research Program
Zebrafish as a Detector and Discriminator of Organophosphate Exposure
Project investigators used fluorescent zebrafish embryos to detect whether environmental toxicants can visibly effect the expression of fluorescent biosensor genes. The researchers used lines of fish that display the embryonic nervous system, lines that respond to the acid form of vitamin A, retinoic acid, and lines that fluoresce in every cell of the embryo. These lines have been exposed to chemicals like chlorpyrifos and it is clear from the results that exposure to high run-off levels can affect the development of the embryonic muscle, notochord and nervous system. This technology and others are being used to determine whether lower levels of exposure will also effect such changes. In addition, researchers are investigating whether environmental toxicants can impact the retinoic acid signal transduction pathway and thereby affect the proper development of the embryonic neural tube.