Yuka Yoneda

A Hudson River Fish Has Evolved to Be Immune to PCBs

by , 03/08/11
filed under: News

While there are many culprits, General Electric, who is reportedly responsible for dumping 1.3 million pounds of the neurotoxic chemical into the Hudson over 30 years (ending in 1977) is at the top of the list. The tomcod, who feed on the bottom of the river, soaked up the PCBs. Fish in other parts of the country were found to react negatively – either dying or being born with mutations. However that wasn’t the case for the tomcod in the Hudson.

“With tomcod from the Hudson River estuary, there was absolutely no effect,” Wirgin said. “You could blast them with PCB and they’d be fine and dandy.”

Why? Well it seems the Hudson River tomcod were missing a little piece of their genetic code and that has stopped the PCBs from killing them.  Wirgin said it was the first time any scientist had documented a genetic cause of toxin immunity and it was ‘proof’ that evolution was in action in the Hudson River.

It’s truly a case of the fittest surviving, but it is quite the test and unfortunately one that we have inflicted on the local wildlife.

+ New York University

Via Record Online

Lead image © Mark Mattson, Normandeau Associates, Inc.

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1 Comment

  1. jabailo August 9, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    We have nothing to worry about then. Future humans will be breathing in CO2 unlike the primitive oxygen consumers of the 21st century.