Toxicologist studying whales in Gulf MOST worried about DNA damage: “They’re mammals, we’re mammals — they represent us”

Study of oil spill’s effect on whales could show future of Gulf marine life, Press-Register, August 23, 2010:

Scientists hope that studying how oil and dispersants affect sperm whales could offer an idea about the future of all creatures in the Gulf of Mexico, perhaps even a guide for the long-range impact on humans. …

“They’re people in the Gulf, if you will,” said John Wise, director of the Maine Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health at the University of Southern Maine. “They’re mammals, we’re mammals. So they represent us. The way it affects them is the way it could affect us. …

“The thing that I worry most about is, what is this pollution doing to their DNA?” Wise said. “If it damages their DNA … they’re not going to be able to reproduce. Now you’re really decimating the population at a pace that you can’t recover very well.”

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