Pesticides and Parkinson's: An Investigation of the effect of RoundUp exposure on Drosophila melanogaster
From commercial farms to private households, Roundup is the most commonly used herbicide in the United States. In recent years, exposure to Roundup has been correlated with a variety of health problems including Celiac Disease, birth defects, kidney and liver diseases, Alzheimer's Disease, and Parkinson's Disease. To date, the use of Roundup has been banned or restricted in several foreign countries, including the Netherlands, Portugal, Germany and Italy, because it has been classified as a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization. The goal of this research was to determine the effects of Roundup exposure on dopaminergic neurons and Parkinson's Disease in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. It was hypothesized that exposure to Roundup would affect motor function and expression of the genes PINK-1and PLE, both of which are homologous to genes associated with the pathology of Parkinson’s Disease in humans. The PINK-1gene encodes the protein PINK-1 which is responsible for maintaining proper mitochondrial function in cells, while PLEencodes the protein PLE, an enzyme involved in the synthesis of dopamine. To test the hypothesis, flies were maintained in culture media that had been supplemented with a 4.5 mg/kg dose of Roundup. Motor assays were performed on both larvae and adult flies to measure defects in motor function and quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) was performed to measure expression of PINK-1and PLE. It was predicted that exposure to Roundup would lead to decreased motor functioning and decreased expression of PINK-1and PLE in Drosophila.