DNA methylation in bryophytes as a biomarker for monitoring environmental pollution

Hiz Çiçekliyurt, Meliha Merve; Yayintas, Ozlem Tonguc


Rapidly growing industrialization and increased need for transportation have led to environmental pollution, particularly heavy metals. Efficient monitoring would help planning effective strategies to curb such increasing pollution. In this context, we studied the epigenetic changes in the bryophyte Greater Fork-moss, Dicranum majus Turner so as to use to monitor the environmental stress conditions due to accumulation of heavy metals and toxic organic compounds. The hypothesis is that the DNAm (DNA methylation) signatures reflect changes in the environmental conditions, and thus could serve as an alternate monitoring tool to study environmental pollution. The vegetative form of D. majus was collected from two different geographical locations where one was near the main road (MR) and another in the forest area (FS). DNAm rate was found 10.41±2.009 and 23.37±2.94 in MR and FS, respectively (P <0.005). The only difference between the two samples were traffic related pollutants. Thus, the reuslts suggest that vehicle pollution induces epigenetic changes in bryophytes, particularly DNA methylation, and could serve as a valuable biomarker to assess pollution risk due to vehicle traffic.


Abiotic stress; Bioindicator; Bryomonitoring; Epigenetic; Greater Fork-moss; Heavy metal; 5-Methycytocine; Moss; Vehicle pollution

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