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Biomarkers of oxidatively induced DNA damage in dreissenid mussels: An ecosystem health assessment tool for the Laurentian Great Lakes



Pawel Jaruga, Erdem Coskun, M Miral Dizdar, W. E. Johnson, Kimani Kimbrough


Industrial, agricultural and urban activities of fast growing human population are continuously altering freshwater ecosystems, endangering their inhabitants and endangering public health. Organic and trace compounds which in some Great Lakes tributaries make their way into surface waters have a high potential for adverse impacts on aquatic organisms. Accumulation of toxic compounds in tissues of organisms living in contaminated environments causes changes in their metabolism and alterations of cellular components. We set out to measure oxidatively induced DNA damage in the soft tissues of dreissenid mussels to check on the possible contaminant-induced impact on their DNA. These bottom-dwelling organisms were obtained from repository of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment, Mussel Watch Program (MWP). Mussels were collected from two sites in harbor of Ashtabula River Area of Concern, Ohio and the reference area located at the Lake Erie shore 6.5 km east from the harbor. A NOAA’s MWP data showed that elevated concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and metals such as Fe, Cr, Cu and Ni were found in dreissenid mussels within the Ashtabula River Area of Concern (AOC) when compared to those obtained from the reference area. Using gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry with isotope dilution, we identified and quantified numerous oxidatively modified DNA bases and 8,5′-cyclopurine-2′-deoxynucleosides. There were significant differences in the concentrations of these potentially mutagenic and/or lethal DNA lesions in the DNA of mussels from harbor in Ashtabula River estuary compared to the animals collected at the relatively clean reference area. The measured DNA lesions as biomarkers are capable for identifying DNA damage in mussels from polluted and reference sites. Such biomarkers are needed to identify t
Environmental Toxicology


Great Lakes, PAHs, PCBs, oxidative DNA damage, dreissenid mussels, GC-MS/MS, trace metals


Jaruga, P. , Coskun, E. , , M. , Johnson, W. and Kimbrough, K. (2017), Biomarkers of oxidatively induced DNA damage in dreissenid mussels: An ecosystem health assessment tool for the Laurentian Great Lakes, Environmental Toxicology, [online], (Accessed June 15, 2024)


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Created June 1, 2017, Updated November 10, 2018