Gene Expression Changes Related to Endocrine Function and Decline in Reproduction in Fathead Minnow ( Pimephales promelas) after Dietary Methylmercury Exposure

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Mercury is prevalent in the environment as a result of both natural processes and emissions from anthropogenic sources (Keating et al. 1997; Wiener et al. 2003). However, atmospheric deposition from anthropogenic emissions such as coal power plants is frequently the major source of Hg in aquatic systems (Landis and Keeler 2002). After deposition, inorganic Hg is methylated by microbes, then biomagnified in aquatic food webs. Subsequently, the greatest concentrations of methylmercury (MeHg) are found in piscivorous fish and wildlife (Spry and Wiener 1991; Watras and Bloom 1992). MeHg is the most toxic form of Hg, and nearly all (95–99%) Hg in fish is MeHg (Bloom 1992; Grieb et al. 1990).

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