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How does the environment impact early central nervous system development?
Macondo crude oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disrupts specific developmental processes during zebrafish embryogenesis.
We are characterizing what affects the Deepwater Horizon crude oil has on zebrafish embryonic development. This is a new area of research for the Barresi lab born out of student research projects in the BIO303, Research in Developmental Biology lab course. This work has revealed an array of embryonic deformations as a result of exposure to this crude oil. Interestingly, these defects have specific developmental origins, and we are eager to decipher the molecular mechanisms behind crude oil induced teratogenesis.
Due to the high conservation of genetic and cellular processes between zebrafish and vertebrates including humans, this work also provides a platform for more focused assessment of the impact the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has had on the early life stages of native fish species in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. We are hoping to submit new grants to fund this and other “Ecology and Development” based projects in the future. Image: Embryos treated with the water-soluble derivatives from the Deepwater Horizon crude oil (E) cause among other defects heart problems (single arrows) and trunk extension defects (double arrow).