Is metal contamination responsible for increasing aneuploidy levels in the Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum?

D. Piló, Susana Carvalho, P. Pereira, M.B. Gaspar, A. Leitão

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The present study assessed the metal genotoxicity potential at chromosome-level in the bivalve Ruditapes philippinarum collected along different areas of the Tagus estuary. Higher levels of aneuploidy on gill cells were detected at the most sediment contaminated area both in May (31.7%) and October (36.0%) when compared to a less contaminated area over the same periods (20.3% and 29.0% respectively). Interestingly, metal bioaccumulation in gills was higher in the specimens collected at the least contaminated area with the exception of Pb. Indeed, the multivariate analysis revealed a stronger relation between aneuploidy and sediment contamination than between aneuploidy and the bioaccumulation of the metals. The temporal and spatial inconsistency found for the bioaccumulation of metals in R. philippinarum and the positive correlation between sediment contamination and aneuploidy at the most contaminated area suggest that these chromosome-level effects might be due to chronic metal contamination occurring in the Tagus estuary, rather than a direct result of the temporal variation of bioavailable contaminants. The vertical transmission phenomenon of bivalve aneuploidy levels may then be perpetuating those levels on clams from the most contaminated area. The present results shed light about the effect of metal toxicity at the chromosome-level in species inhabiting chronic contaminated areas and highlight the use of aneuploidy as an effective tool to identify persistent contamination in worldwide transitional waters.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-348
Number of pages9
JournalScience of The Total Environment
StatePublished - Nov 3 2016

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This study was funded by the “Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia” (FCT) project “ECOAPPROACH” (PTDC/AAC-AMB/121037/2010). The authors wish to thank to Fábio Pereira for his valuable help in the sampling surveys and to Dr. Radhouan Ben-Hamadou for his help in the sampling design. We are also grateful to the “Estrutura de Missão para a Extensão da Plataforma Continental” (EMEPC) for the boat used during this study, and to Adolfo Lobo and Luís Bernardes for sampling assistance. A special thank are due to Margarete Matias for her assistance in the microscope slide observation. We are also indebted to Dr. Joana Raimundo, Olinda Araújo and Ana Carriço for their help in the laboratory work. D.P. benefit from a grant from the above mentioned project and P.P. benefit from a Post-doctoral grant (SFRH/BPD/69563/2010) awarded by the FCT. The authors would also like to thank Dr. Joanne Ellis for proofreading the manuscript as well as the editor and reviewers for their constructive comments that contributed to substantially improve an earlier version of the manuscript.


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