Potamonautes spp. As a bioindicator for oestrogenic endocrine disrupting chemicals
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Environmental pollutants, such as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), are a health concern as they can adversely affect animal health by interfering with the normal function of hormones. Oestrogenic EDCs can cause adverse developmental and reproductive effects by mimicking or inhibiting endogenous oestrogens. However, these effects are difficult to detect as they often only manifest long after the initial exposure. Vitellogenin (VTG) is the precursor to the major yolk protein vitellin (Vn) and is produced by egg laying females in response to oestrogens. The VTG gene is also present in males, but silent. Thus, the presence of VTG and Vn in animals, as well as the synthesis thereof in response to oestrogens, can serve a dual purpose in biomonitoring experiments. These proteins can be monitored over a period of time to establish the reproductive cycle of an organism and can also serve as a biomarker for oestrogenic pollutants.