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ArtikelWaters of Change; Pollution and Evolution  
Oleh: [s.n]
Jenis: Article from Bulletin/Magazine
Dalam koleksi: The Economist ( vol. 401 no. 8757 (Oct. 2011), page 82-84.
Topik: Evolution; Fish; Polychlorinated biphenyls--PCB; Researchers
Fulltext: Waters of change.pdf (16.95KB)
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    • Nomor Panggil: EE29.68
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Isi artikelIt is not often that biologists have a chance to watch natural selection in action. The best-known cases--the evolution of resistance to antibiotics in bacteria and to pesticides in insects--are responses to deliberate changes people have made in the environment of the creatures concerned. But mankind has caused lots of accidental changes as well, and these also offer opportunities to study evolution. Recently, two groups of researchers, one at New York University (NYU) and the other at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, have taken advantage of one of these changes to look at how fish evolve in response to environmental stress. The stress in question is pollution by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCBs are persistent chemicals, and their effects are felt even today. In particular, they disrupt the immune systems of animals such as fish, cause hormonal imbalances and promote tumours. As is the way of evolution, however, some fish species have developed resistance to PCB poisoning. Isaac Wirgin, at NYU, and Mark Hahn, at Woods Hole, have been studying PCB-resistant fish, to see how they do it. After that, the two researchers will be able to look at how these populations evolve yet again as the environment is cleaned up.
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