ISSN 10623604, Russian Journal of Developmental Biology, 2014, Vol. 45, No. 3, pp. 143–148. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2014.
Original Russian Text © E.A. Snegin, 2014, published in Ontogenez, 2014, Vol. 45, No. 3, pp. 180–186.
Various technological factors and chemical agents
that affect the DNA of living organisms can distort the
mechanism of transmission of hereditary information.
As we know, this can entail serious consequences in the
normal functioning of the existing forms of organic life,
Among the available modern test systems for evalu
ation of the level of cytogenetic stability under exposure
to various xenobiotics, alkaline gel electrophoresis of
isolated cells, which was given the abbreviated name of
Comet assay, is a very sensitive technique (Ostling and
Johanson, 1984; Tronov and Pelevina, 1996; Olive and
Banath, 2006; Sorochinskaya and Mikhailenko, 2008;
Dhawan and Anderson, 2009). In most cases, this
approach is used in laboratory experiments in vitro and
in vivo. However, information about the application of
this method to determine the degree of mutagenic load
in different landscapes is gradually emerging (Shugart,
2000; Regoli et al., 2004; Mitchelmore et al., 2004; Slo
bodskova et al., 2011). This raises the question about
suitable bioindicator organisms that can become the
objects of ecotoxicological monitoring. For this pur
pose, we propose to use terrestrial gastropods.
The purpose of this study was to assess the level of
cytogenetic stability of natural animal populations of
the south of the Central Russian Upland by studying the
response of organisms to genotoxic environmental fac
tors by the DNA comet assay. In this study, we used the
following aboriginal species of terrestrial snails:
Müll. (bush snail),
Müll. (threeteethed snail), and
Fer. (Austrian snail). The selection of
these organisms was determined by several reasons.
Firstly, these species exhibit a pronounced polymor
phism of conchological and biochemical traits and have
long been used as bioindicators of anthropogenic
impact on biocenoses in different landscapes (Matekin,
1950; Makeev et al., 2005; Kramarenko et al., 2007;
Snegin 2010, 2011a, 2011b).
Secondly, they form numerous colonies in their hab
itats and widely spread in Europe to ensure representa
Third, bush and Austrian snails are relatively long
lived (up to 5 years) and sedentary animals whose biol
ogy is confined to particular vegetation and soils. All this
contributes to the accumulation in their body of differ
ent pollutants, including the genotoxic components.
In addition, we analyzed one colony of the adventive
North Caucasian snail
MATERIAL AND METHODS
The studies were conducted in the southern part of
the MidRussian Upland (Belgorod fouling) in summer
2011. Snails were collected manually in their habitats.
, the mowing net method was used.
In each population, ten animals were randomly selected
for laboratory research. We analyzed primarily mature
snails that completed their growth, which was deter
mined by the lapel of the opening of the shell. In total,
150 individuals collected in fifteen sites, which are
described in Table 1, were studied (Fig. 1).
DNA comet assay. It is worth mentioning that one of
the key points to use this method for the analysis of nat
Analysis of Cytogenetic Stability in Natural Populations
of Terrestrial Mollusks (Based on DNA Comet Assay)
E. A. Snegin
Research Laboratory of Population Genetics and Genetic Toxicology, Belgorod National State Research University,
ul. Pobedy 85, Belgorod, 308014 Russia
Received December 11, 2013; in final form, January 14, 2014
—Alkaline gel electrophoresis of isolated cells (comet assay) was used to assess degree of nuclear
DNA damage in populations of terrestrial mollusks
Fer. living in the foreststeppe landscape of the south
ern part of the MidRussian Upland. Evidence of differences in the parameters studied was found. The age
dynamics of the degree of damage of the genetic apparatus was observed. Possible causes of the identified dif
ferences are discussed.
: terrestrial mollusks, DNA damage, DNA comet assay