Comparative breeding and behavioral responses to ethinylestradiol exposure in wild and laboratory maintained zebrafish (Danio rerio) populations

Marta Soeffker, Jamie R. Stevens, Charles R. Tyler

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Genetic variation has a significant effect on behavior, fitness, and response to toxicants; however, this is rarely considered in ecotoxicological studies. We compared fitness-related behavioral traits, breeding activity, and the effects of exposure to the environmental estrogen ethinylestradiol (EE2) on reproduction in a laboratory (Wild Indian Karyotype, WIK) strain and a wild-caught population (Bangladesh, BLD01) of Danio rerio (zebrafish). In WIK fish, males with higher observed heterozygocity were more active reproductively and more successful in securing parentage, but these relationships were not apparent in the BLD01 fish. The frequency of reproductive behaviors increased in WIK zebrafish for exposure to 0.4 ng/L EE2, which was not apparent in the BLD01 zebrafish. The different strains showed the same threshold for hepatic vitellogenin gene (vtg) induction (2.2 ng EE2/L), but results suggested an elevated response level in the BLD01. There were no effects on total egg production up to 2.2 ng EE2/L in either population; however, there was reduced egg fertilization rate at 2.2 ng EE2/L in the BLD01 fish. These results show consistency in the general responses to EE2 between these two genetically divergent strains of zebrafish, but also illustrate differences in their breeding biology and response sensitivities. These findings highlight the need for due consideration of the source (and genetics) of populations used in ecological risk assessment for accurate comparisons among studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11377-11383
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2012

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