RNA-Seq used to study Deepwater Horizon blowout effect on Gulf fish species

The release of oil resulting from the blowout of the Deepwater Horizon (DH) drilling platform was one of the largest in history discharging more than 189 million gallons of oil and subject to widespread application of oil dispersants. This event impacted a wide range of ecological habitats with a complex mix of pollutants whose biological impact is still not yet fully understood. To better understand the effects on a vertebrate genome, a team led by researchers at Texas State University studied gene expression in the salt marsh minnow Fundulus grandis, which is local to the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico and is a sister species of the ecotoxicological model Fundulus heteroclitus. To assess genomic changes, they quantified mRNA expression using high throughput sequencing technologies (RNA-Seq) in F. grandis populations in the marshes and estuaries impacted by DH oil release. This application of RNA-Seq to a non-model, wild, and ecologically significant organism is an important evaluation of the technology to quickly assess similar events in the future.(read more…)

  • Garcia TI, Shen Y, Crawford D, Oleksiak MF, Whitehead A, Walter RB. (2012) RNA-Seq reveals complex genetic response to deepwater horizon oil release in Fundulus grandis. BMC Genomics 13(1), 474. [abstract]
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