Superfund Research Program
Microarrays in Grass Shrimp and Sheepshead Minnows
Project Leader: Patrick Larkin
Grant Number: R43ES013637
Funding Period: Phase I: 2004-2005
Microarrays are a powerful way to measure the impact of contaminants present in the environment. This project is sequencing genes from grass shrimp and sheepshead minnows, making trial microarrays from these genes, and showing the expression patterns that result from exposure to contaminants that are present in the environment. Measurement and analysis of contaminants in the environment and evaluation of their effects on biota is very important to the EPA in its Superfund monitoring activities. Grass shrimp and sheepshead minnows are two species that are routinely used for monitoring at coastal Superfund sites and for which a variety of physiological endpoints have already been determined. Experiments by this research group and others have shown that gene arrays can be used to detect changes in gene expression caused by exposure to contaminants and it is clear that contaminants have unique genetic signatures. Because many contaminants act at the gene level to induce or repress gene expression through both receptor-mediated and non-receptor mediated pathways, microarrays can help to elucidate signaling pathways that are affected.