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Erythrocytic abnormalities in three Antarctic penguin species along the Antarctic Peninsula: biomonitoring of genomic damage

AuthorsMas, Eva de ; Benzal, Jesús ; Merino, Santiago ; Valera, Francisco ; Palacios, María José ; Cuervo, José Javier ; Barbosa, Andrés
KeywordsErythrocytic abnormalities
Genotoxic damage
Issue Date1-Jul-2015
CitationPolar Biology 38(7): 1067-1074 (2015)
AbstractPollutants and toxic contaminants produced in all parts of the world are transported to remote regions including Antarctica. Tourism, research, and fishing activities on this continent are another source of contamination. Toxic substances affect Antarctic species, and some produced genomic damage to the fauna. The genetic damage can be detected by microscopic observation of erythrocytic nuclear abnormalities (ENAs). We counted the number of ENAs in seven populations of three Pygoscelid penguin species, Adélie (Pygoscelis adeliae), Chinstrap (Pygoscelis antarctica), and Gentoo (Pygoscelis papua), and found important differences among species exposed to the same conditions. ENAs were more frequent in Adélie penguins than in the other two species. Inter-population comparisons within species showed remarkable differences in Adélie and Chinstrap penguins but not in Gentoo penguin. Frequency of ENAs in Adélie penguins was the highest in Yalour Island population, intermediate in King George Island population, and the lowest in Torgersen Island and Avian Island populations. In Chinstrap penguins, the highest number of ENAs was found on Deception Island, and significant differences were found only between Deception Island and King George Island populations. This information will provide baseline data to be used for assessing the evolution of genomic damage of penguins along the Antarctic Peninsula in the future.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00300-015-1667-2
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