International E co G en Incorporated

Genetic Ecotoxicology - Is it Useful?

Many of the contaminants in our environment produce impacts at the genetic level. The environmental regulations of most countries in the world including Canada do not regulate chemical contaminants for effects at this level. Indeed the environmental risk assessments that are commonly done exclude all genetic effects because the risk assessors do not know what to do with this data and, therefore, ignore it. The trace level contaminant effects on gene function, although now coming to light, has yet to be considered by environmental policy makers. Although our company specializes in an assay that identifies DNA damage at the chromosomal level through a very cost effective, but sensitive protocol utilizing a flow cytometre, there is almost no market for this service because of the lack of regulation at the genetic level. Only individuals and organizations that really want to know what the full impact of a certain chemical or effluent is in the receiving environment consider our diagnostic service essential.

DNA damage in somatic cells has been linked to cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis and many other disease conditions in people. It would be advisable to consider that genetic damage is a most relevant indicator for a healthy environment. We are seldom present when an animal in nature dies and so the database for disease incidence and mortality causes is only available for humans. The quick fix bioassays that are commonly done on animals to justify environmental contamination are largely irrelevant and rarely measure genetic parameters.

Types of Mutation
Consequences of Mutation
Our DNA Damage Detection Method


Updated by Michael Easton 2009.