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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2010, Article ID 726946, 7 pages
Review Article

Heavy Metal-Induced Oxidative DNA Damage in Earthworms: A Review

1Department of Life and Environment Engineering, Faculty of Environmental Engineering, The University of Kitakyushu, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka 808-0135, Japan
2Division of Teacher Training, Faculty of Education and Culture, University of Miyazaki, Miyazaki 889-2192, Japan

Received 30 June 2009; Accepted 8 December 2009

Academic Editor: Natchimuthu Karmegam

Copyright © 2010 Takeshi Hirano and Kazuyoshi Tamae. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Earthworms can be used as a bio-indicator of metal contamination in soil, Earlier reports claimed the bioaccumulation of heavy metals in earthworm tissues, while the metal-induced mutagenicity reared in contaminated soils for long duration. But we examined the metal-induced mutagenicity in earthworms reared in metal containing culture beddings. In this experiment we observed the generation of 8-oxoguanine (8-oxo-Gua) in earthworms exposed to cadmium and nickel in soil. 8-oxo-Gua is a major premutagenic form of oxidative DNA damage that induces GC-to-TA point mutations, leading to carcinogenesis.