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Evolving alongside the Hudson's PCBs

Mar 01, 2011 12:38 pm
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="The Atlantic tomcod seems to be adapting to Hudson River PCBs."][/caption]A recent story by Scott Waldman of the Times Union centers on the ramifications of a Hudson River fish, the Atlantic tomcod, is showing signs that it has genetically evolved to become partially resistant to PCBs, according to a new study conducted by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, New York University and the federal National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. The information was published in a recent issue of Science and found that changes in the fish's genes were making it more resistant to PCBs than tomcod that don't live in the Hudson. Polychlorinated biphenyls, which are suspected carcinogens, were discharged into the river for decades from General Electric plants in Fort Edward and Hudson Falls before they were banned in the 1970s. The tomcod is a common bottom-feeding fish that is not usually eaten by humans. The Hudson is currently being dredged of the GE PCBs north of Hudson in a multi-year project.