"The research outlined in this proposal investigates the potential for exposure to endocrine active chemicals (EACs) to influence evolutionary processes within fish populations. The EACs are globally recognised as a prevalent group of environmental contaminants that are known to induce reproductive abnormalities in a range of vertebrates. Although the impact of exposure to these chemicals is well documented, at the level of the individual, it is not yet clear how, or if, these contaminants have the potential to influence evolutionary processes. Such information is urgently needed to understand the implications of exposure to EACs for wild populations and to better inform risk management strategies. The research proposed here adopts a quantitative genetics approach to determine whether an EAC can generate selection within an exposed population and whether the population can respond to this selection. Specifically experiments will be conducted to (1) estimate additive genetic variation for plasticity in phenotypic responses to flutamide; (2) assess the response to selection over four rounds of truncation selection; (3) determine whether there is evidence for correlated responses to selection in traits that are not under direct selection. The results from these experiments will inform on the potential for EACs to impact the health and viability of fish populations and will further inform risk management strategies for EACs. The results will be published in leading journals in the environmental sciences and presented at international meetings. This will provide an excellent foundation on which to develop collaborative scientific networks and attract future competitive research funding to both identify the genes underlying the tolerant phenotype and to assess the potential costs associated with tolerance."
Fields of science
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