Date of Award


Degree Name

Physical Science


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Elizabeth E. Murray

Second Advisor

Marcia Harris

Third Advisor

Michael Little


Our ecosystem has geobiophysical relationships. Environmental pollution can lead to immediate consequences like organism death or lack of reproduction. It can also lead to long-range consequences through mutations and DNA damage. Fish can be affected very directly by environmental contamination in water but the study of fish is not performed well. We are developing a quantitative assay to assess DNA damage in vitro due to heavy metal contamination using a tissue culture line of Poeciliopsis lucida, the desert pupfish, which is used for other toxicology assays. To detect DNA damage, Single Cell Gel Electrophoresis (Comet Assay) is very useful. PLHC-1 cell line has been widely used for laboratory experimental systems but not the comet assay. This research demonstrates that arsenic can damage cells. As2O3 was worse than As2O5, even though As2O5 is more water soluble. Longer exposure and higher concentrations greatly increased both the number of comets and the length of the tails. PLHC-1 cells are undergoing apoptosis in response to As2O3; however, DNA laddering assays with As2O3 and other known apoptosis reagents (Cadmium, Camptothecin) were negative using PLHC-1 Cells. Other studies using DNA laddering with fish cells show that different cell lines can have different results in DNA laddering assay. It supported that negative result of PLHC-1 cell line on DNA laddering assay. I already performed Hach Kit assay to monitor arsenic concentration in the Big Sandy River. However, this Hach Kit was not accurate and sensitive enough. Therefore, for future study I plan to do the GeoBioPhysical Modeling studies of Arsenic Pollution in West Virginia. These should be based on more samples from water which is collected with GPS locations and incorporated into GIS mapping. In particular, the water and stream sediments near the mine sludge ponds and coal burning power plants should be obtained and tested with sensitive and accurate methods like SEM.


Arsenic - Toxicology - Environmental aspects.

Arsenic - Toxicology - Appalachian Region.