Oil Damages DNA | The Jackal

27 Sep 2011

Oil Damages DNA

A recently released peer reviewed study entitled Genomic and physiological footprint of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on resident marsh fishes (PDF) and released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has found that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has damaged the genetic structure of marsh fish in the effected area. 

The study found damage has occurred to the reproductive functions of Killifish from exposure to toxic chemicals found in oil released after the BP disaster, which spewed 4.9 million barrels off the coast of Louisiana in 2010.
The adult fish sampled in situ from the oil-contaminated GT site showed divergent regulation of several genes involved in blood vessel morphogenesis and heme metabolism coincident with oil contamination.
In 2010 New Zealand fishing exports of Hoki earned $172m, Lobster exports $229m and Mussel exports $171m. In fact the fishing industry in New Zealand earns well over $1.3 billion a year in exports.

This is yet another good reason to not undertake exploration for oil in deep water off our coasts. The consequences of an oil spill on our productive fishing industry, should not be underestimated.