The Effects of Atrazine Exposure on DNA Methylation in Drosophila melanogaster

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Florida Southern College
Atrazine is the second most commonly used herbicide in the United States with 80 million pounds being applied to farmlands yearly. It is a potent endocrine disrupter, as it acts as a xenoestrogen and causing estrogen dominance. Atrazine has been observed to cause behavioral, developmental, and reproductive changes in species such as frogs, salmon, and rats. Current research is looking at DNA methylation, which is the addition of a methyl group to the fifth carbon on the cytosine ring, as an epigenetic factor for gene expression controlling cellular processes such as gene suppression and genomic imprinting, In this study, Drosophila melanogaster were exposed to varying concentrations of atrazine and their DNA was extracted to observe and compare the changes in global methylation patterns. It is predicted that there were be global DNA hypomethylation in flies exposed to atrazine compared to those of the control. Data obtained showed that was some correlation between viable candidates produced and the concentration of the exposure environment, but not enough to be definitive. Through setbacks in the DNA extraction process, techniques for genomic DNA extraction from Drosophila melanogaster was developed.
Honors Thesis Spring 2017
Atrazine, Herbicide, Endocrine disrupters