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Genetic adaptation to pollution

Tools of Survival

Water pollution often devestates marine life, but can occasionally make some fish tougher. WHOI researchers recentlycompared the way tomcod in Shinnecock Bay and the Hudson River have evolved in response to toxic chemicals, and found that a key protein in those in the Hudson River (right panel) are missing two amino acids that make them less sensitive to toxins, and thus better able to survive pollution. Shinnecock Bay tomcod (left panel) have a normal version of the protein. Biology postdoctoral fellow Larissa Williams studies how fish in New Bedford Harbor have become resistant to toxins. She will discuss her work at this week's Science Made Public presentation today at 2:30 p.m. (Illustration by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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