A1 Journal article (refereed)
Does Arsenic Contamination Affect DNA Methylation Patterns in a Wild Bird Population? : An Experimental Approach (2021)

Laine, V. N., Verschuuren, M., van Oers, K., Espín, S., Sánchez-Virosta, P., Eeva, T., & Ruuskanen, S. (2021). Does Arsenic Contamination Affect DNA Methylation Patterns in a Wild Bird Population? : An Experimental Approach. Environmental Science and Technology, 55(13), 8947-8954. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c08621

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Laine, Veronika N.; Verschuuren, Mark; van Oers, Kees; Espín, Silvia; Sánchez-Virosta, Pablo; Eeva, Tapio; Ruuskanen, Suvi

Journal or series: Environmental Science and Technology

ISSN: 0013-936X

eISSN: 1520-5851

Publication year: 2021

Publication date: 10/06/2021

Volume: 55

Issue number: 13

Pages range: 8947-8954

Publisher: American Chemical Society (ACS)

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c08621

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/77100

Web address of parallel published publication (pre-print): https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.12.08.415745v2


Pollutants, such as toxic metals, negatively influence organismal health and performance, even leading to population collapses. Studies in model organisms have shown that epigenetic marks, such as DNA methylation, can be modulated by various environmental factors, including pollutants, influencing gene expression, and various organismal traits. Yet experimental data on the effects of pollution on DNA methylation from wild animal populations are largely lacking. We here experimentally investigated for the first time the effects of early-life exposure to environmentally relevant levels of a key pollutant, arsenic (As), on genome-wide DNA methylation in a wild bird population. We experimentally exposed nestlings of great tits (Parus major) to arsenic during their postnatal developmental period (3 to 14 days post-hatching) and compared their erythrocyte DNA methylation levels to those of respective controls. In contrast to predictions, we found no overall hypomethylation in the arsenic group. We found evidence for loci to be differentially methylated between the treatment groups, but for five CpG sites only. Three of the sites were located in gene bodies of zinc finger and BTB domain containing 47 (ZBTB47), HIVEP zinc finger 3 (HIVEP3), and insulin-like growth factor 2 mRNA binding protein 1 (IGF2BP1). Further studies are needed to evaluate whether epigenetic dysregulation is a commonly observed phenomenon in polluted populations and what are the consequences for organism functioning and for population dynamics.

Keywords: environmental pollution; harmful substances; arsenic; epigenetics; DNA methylation; wild animals; great tit; ecotoxicology

Free keywords: pollution; Parus major; environmental epigenetics; ecological epigenetics; ecotoxicology

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 14:29