Estimation of a degree of stability of roman snails (Helix pomatia) populations to the action of genotoxic components of the urban environment

E.A. Snegin1, O.Yu. Artemchuk2

1,2 Belgorod National Research University, Russia, Belgorod, Pobeda St. 85


DOI: 10.33075/2220-5861-2018-3-110-114

UDC 575.22;502.4


   Based on the method of alkaline gel electrophoresis of isolated cells (Comet Assay for DNA), the level of DNA destruction in four adventive populations of Roman snail (Helix pomatia L.), inhabiting the city of Belgorod and its environs, was studied.  For the analysis, hepatopancreas tissue in forty individuals of a roman snail was used (ten individuals per group). The images were analyzed on an epifluorescence microscope. The data was processed using a program CometScoreТМ v 1,5. The nuclei were ranked by the four stages of DNA destruction. At least 100 nuclei on each preparation were counted. The degree of DNA damage was assessed using the Kraskel-Wallis criterion (DNA-comet index, IDK). The number of cells in the state of apoptosis was also evaluated.

   The data obtained indicate to a reliable increase in the index of DNA-comets in a colony prone to pesticides and vehicle exhaust fumes (Maisky settlement, IDK = 0.305 ± 0.070), that lives in a forest belt between the highway and the wheat field. In addition, this colony has the highest percentage of cells in the state of apoptosis (AP), 6.0 ± 0.5%. In the remaining groups, these indicators were smaller (“Donets”: IDK = 0.036 ± 0.020, AP = 1.0 ± 0.3%, “Shopino”: IDK = 0.126 ± 0.056, AP = 0.2 ± 0.1%; “Belgorod”: IDK = 0.136 ± 0.031, AP = 4.9 ± 0.5%).

   It is suggested that the accumulation of genotoxic components in a “Maisky” biotope causes a disturbance of cytogenetic stability, disruptions in the work of repair processes in the cells of snails living here, and an increase in gaps in the DNA chain. However, the fact of the presence of this adventitious species in the given territory, as in other parts of Belgorod, testifies to the stability of the genetic apparatus of the roman snail to the action of pollutants of the urbanized environment and creates prerequisites for the further development of the invasive process. We believe that the revealed tendency can serve as a starting point for further monitoring of the investigated snail groups, including both cytogenetic and demographic data. In addition, the obtained result will allow using the method of alkaline gel electrophoresis in bioindication purposes, where not only representatives of the malacofauna, but also other species of animals.

Keywords: DNA comet method, urban environment, terrestrial mollusk, genotoxic pollutants.

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