Table of Contents
Advances in Toxicology
Volume 2014, Article ID 984319, 13 pages
Research Article

Chemical Exposure Generates DNA Copy Number Variants and Impacts Gene Expression

1School of Health Sciences, Purdue University, 550 Stadium Mall Drive, HAMP-1263D, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
2Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA

Received 29 August 2014; Revised 3 December 2014; Accepted 3 December 2014; Published 30 December 2014

Academic Editor: Mugimane Manjanatha

Copyright © 2014 Samuel M. Peterson and Jennifer L. Freeman. 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.


DNA copy number variation is long associated with highly penetrant genomic disorders, but it was not until recently that the widespread occurrence of copy number variation among phenotypically normal individuals was realized as a considerable source of genetic variation. It is also now appreciated that copy number variants (CNVs) play a role in the onset of complex diseases. Many of the complex diseases in which CNVs are associated are reported to be influenced by yet to be identified environmental factors. It is hypothesized that exposure to environmental chemicals generates CNVs and influences disease onset and pathogenesis. In this study a proof of principle experiment was completed with ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) and cytosine arabinoside (Ara-C) to investigate the generation of CNVs using array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) and the zebrafish vertebrate model system. Exposure to both chemicals resulted in CNVs. CNVs were detected in similar genomic regions among multiple exposure concentrations with EMS and five CNVs were common among both chemicals. Furthermore, CNVs were correlated to altered gene expression. This study suggests that chemical exposure generates CNVs with impacts on gene expression warranting further investigation of this phenomenon with environmental chemicals.