ISSN 1062-3604, Russian Journal of Developmental Biology, 2017, Vol. 48, No. 1, pp. 65–74. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2017.
Original Russian Text © O.P. Melekhova, 2017, published in Ontogenez, 2017, Vol. 48, No. 1, pp. 73–83.
Use of Fundamental Properties of Embryonic Objects for Studying
Potential Environmental Effects of Technogenic Impacts
O. P. Melekhova
Faculty of Biology, Moscow State University, Moscow, 119234 Russia
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Received August 29, 2016
Abstract⎯This article analyzes the problems of biosafety in terms of individual development patterns. Previ-
ously, the key role of epigenetic free radical processes in normal embryonic development of lower vertebrates
in the formation of the competence and determination of embryonic primordia has been demonstrated, and
a significant increase in the intensity of free radical process before every qualitative change in homeostatic
mechanisms in developing organisms was found: in induction systems, before hatching of the embryo from
the shells, and in preparation for metamorphosis. Thus, the activation of free radical processes in embryonic
primordia corresponds to instability and characterizes the “critical periods of development” and increased
sensitivity of the embryo to environmental impacts. Patented methods and a test system that allows detecting
early biological effects of weak environmental impacts and predicting their environmental risk are presented.
Possible mechanisms of significant biological effects of weak radiation and chemical impacts on the develop-
ing organism are discussed. The necessity of including embryonic objects in the protocol of testing the bio-
safety of technological developments is substantiated.
Keywords: lower vertebrates, embryos, larvae, free radicals, biosafety, weak effects, test system
DOI: 10.1134/S1062360 417010088
Biosafety issues are of great relevance due to the
exponential growth of anthropogenic pollution of the
biosphere. The following background information is
illustrative: the electromagnetic pollution caused by
nonionizing and ionizing radiation has increased
12000 and 1.5–2 times, respectively, for 150 years.
Approximately 1000 new xenobiotics (chemical tech-
nology products) appear every year. It is important to
study the mechanisms of biological “effects of low
doses,” because the current state of the biosphere is
characterized by widespread chronic integrated elec-
tromagnetic and chemical effects at low and moderate
doses on living organisms in all types of environment.
The rapid development of biotechnological and
biomedical research led to the discovery of new pros-
pects for improving the welfare and extension of
human life. However, the effects of the interaction of
organisms and the environment in general with the
products of new technologies are not always predict-
able. Currently, studies of these effects not only on the
models that are close to humans but also environmen-
tal risk predictions are very relevant. In particular, the
International Life Science Institute Research Founda-
tion/Risk Science Institute proposes some standard
directions in screening the risk of the effect of new
products on the biological models in vitro and in vivo,
including alternative organisms and cell models.
Biological safety is understood as retaining the bio-
logical nature, main properties, and system-forming
relationships by living systems and preventing the loss
of biological integrity. For developing organisms, this
means the retention of genetic information and
homeostasis of development, successive stages of gene
expression, and formation of body structures. Tradi-
tionally, the biosafety of the environment of organisms
is estimated by normalizing the maximum allowable
concentrations and levels of anthropogenic impacts.
However, we noted that the levels of chemical and
electromagnetic impacts that are considered safe for
adult animals are critical for developing embryos and
juveniles of the same species (Melekhova 1976;
Melekhova et al., 1998).
In this article, we substantiate the necessity to
revisit the system of regulation of maximum allowable
negative impacts as well as the necessity to use embry-
onic bioassays in safety testing of new biotechnologi-
cal and biomedical developments. This problem is dis-
cussed in the context of new data and the results of our
Embryogenesis is the first stage in the development
of various multicellular organisms. A characteristic
feature of this period of individual life is that all the