This study aimed to evaluate the utility of microarrays as a biomonitoring tool in field studies. A 15,000-oligonucleotide microarray was used to measure the hepatic gene expression of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) caged in four Nebraska, USA watersheds - the Niobrara and Dismal Rivers (low-impact agricultural sites) and the Platte and Elkhorn Rivers (high-impact agricultural sites). Gene expression profiles were site specific and fish from the low- and high-impact sites aggregated into distinct groups. Over 1500 genes were differentially regulated between fish from the low- and high-impact sites. Many gene expression differences (1218) were also noted when the Platte and Elkhorn minnows were compared to one another and Platte fish experienced a higher degree of transcript alterations than Elkhorn fish. These findings indicate that there are differences between the low-impact and high-impact sites, as well as between the two high-impact sites. Historical water quality data support these results as only trace levels of agrichemicals have been detected at the low-impact sites, while substantial levels of agrichemicals have been reported at the high-impact sites with agrichemical loads at the Platte generally exceeding those at the Elkhorn. Overall, this study demonstrates that microarrays can be utilized to discriminate sites with different contaminant loads from one another.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry