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Zebrafish illuminate the effects of environmental pollution


Glowing zebrafish help scientists understand environmental pollution.



Glowing zebrafish created by scientists help to show how pollution affects people and wildlife.

The genetically-modified zebrafish glow when they are exposed to chemical pollutants, found a study at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.

Professor Charles Tyler of Biosciences at the University of Exeter said in a statement, "This zebrafish gives us a more comprehensive view than ever before of the potential effects of these hormone-disrupting chemicals on the body."

He went on to say, “By being able to localise precisely where different environmental oestrogens act in the body, we will be able to more effectively target health effects analyses for these chemicals of concern."

The study looked at chemicals known to affect estrogen hormone signalling, said Scope, including those used in the contraceptive pill, hormone replacement therapy treatments, and in some plastics.

The preliminary results show that many parts of the body such as the heart, eyes and skeletal system are affected by these chemicals, said the Toronto Sun.

According to the BBC, researchers around the world are looking for ways to test for these chemicals in the body and understand their health risks in humans and in animals.

“This is a very exciting development in the international effort to understand the impact of oestrogenic chemicals on the environment and human health," said Tyler. 

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