RNA-Seq was applied in this ecotoxicogenomics study to investigate the effects of ibuprofen in two species, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), a fish routinely used in ecotoxicology tests, and Caenorhabditis elegans, a well-studied nematode with immense genomics information. Exposure to environmentally relevant levels of ibuprofen resulted in gene expression changes relating to stress, prostaglandin synthesis, reproduction and development in both species. In fish, we observed sex-dependent differences in vitellogenin and prostaglandin synthase gene expression, highlighting the importance of genetic sex determination of juvenile fish used in bioassays. In worms, we saw a decrease in progeny production count. Our results suggest that ibuprofen may have negative impacts on reproduction in both species but requires further investigation. This study demonstrated the benefits and challenges of using RNA-Seq in ecotoxicology and the value of studying diverse species, including traditional models and more microscopic organisms, to better understand toxicant impact on an entire ecosystem.
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Thesis advisor: Brinkman, Fiona S. L.
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