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Genetic variability in sublethal tolerance to mixtures of cadmium and zinc in clones of Daphnia magna Straus
Barata, C.; Markich, S.J.; Baird, D.J.; Taylor, G.; Soares, A.M.V.M. (2002). Genetic variability in sublethal tolerance to mixtures of cadmium and zinc in clones of Daphnia magna Straus. Aquat. Toxicol. 60(1-2): 85-99
In: Aquatic Toxicology. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0166-445X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Barata, C.
  • Markich, S.J.
  • Baird, D.J.
  • Taylor, G.
  • Soares, A.M.V.M.

Abstract
    To date, studies on genetic variability in the tolerance of aquatic biota to chemicals have focused on exposure to single chemicals. In the field, metals occur as elemental mixtures, and thus it is essential to study whether the genetic consequences of exposure to such mixtures differs from response to single chemicals. This study determined the feeding responses of three Daphnia magna Straus clones exposed to Cd and Zn, both individually and as mixtures. Tolerance to mixtures of Cd and Zn was expressed as the proportional feeding depression of D. magna to Cd at increasing zinc concentrations. A quantitative genetic analysis revealed that genotype and genotype×environmental factors governed population responses to mixtures of both metals. More specifically, genetic variation in tolerance to sublethal levels of Cd decreased at those Zn concentrations where there were no effects on feeding, and increased again at Zn concentrations that affected feeding. The existence of genotype×environmental interactions indicated that the genetic consequences of exposing D. magna to mixtures of Cd and Zn cannot be predicted from the animals' response to single metals alone. Therefore, current ecological risk assessment methodologies for predicting the effects of chemical mixtures may wish to incorporate the concept of genetic variability. Furthermore, exposure to low and moderate concentrations of Zn increased the sublethal tolerance to Cd. This induction of tolerance to Cd by Zn was also observed for D. magna fed algae pre-loaded with both metals. Furthermore, in only one clone, physiological acclimatisation to zinc also induced tolerance to cadmium. These results suggest that the feeding responses of D. magna may be related to gut poisoning induced by the release of metals from algae under low pH conditions. In particular, both induction of metallothionein synthesis by Zn and competition between Zn and Cd ions for uptake at target sites on the gut wall may be involved in determining sublethal responses to mixtures of both metals.

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