According to research done by the Texas State University, a very common source of artificial light being used today is fluorescent lighting but there could also be some unexpected consequences present at the genetic level.
Following were the members of the research team: Yuan Lu, William Boswell, Mikki Boswell, Raquel Salinas, Markita Savage, and Ronald B.
“Evolution occurred over many millennia exclusively under the full spectrum of sunlight. Thus, life had the opportunity to conscript each wavelength in the solar spectrum for the regulation of specific gene expression pathways,” said Walter. “Over the past 60 years, we have increasingly relied on artificial light sources that emit much narrower wavelength spectrums than does the sun. Yet, little research has been conducted to determine gene expression consequences, if any, from use of common artificial light sources.”
The research done by Texas State team used zebrafish, Japanese rice fish, and a hairless mouse and identified the genes that were activated using wavelengths that were released from fluorescent light. The findings showed an increase in inflammation in tissues and organs of animals.
“In this report we show genome-wide changes of gene expression patterns in skin, brain and liver for two commonly utilized fish experimental models (zebrafish and Japanese rice fish, also known as medaka), and a mammalian (mice), following exposure to 4,100 K ‘cool-white’ fluorescent light,” explained Walter. “In spite of the extreme divergence of these animals (i.e., estimated divergence of mice and fish about 450 million years), and drastically different lifestyles (i.e., diurnal fish and nocturnal mice), the same highly conserved primary genetic response that involves activation of inflammation and immune pathways as part of an overall acute phase response was observed in the skin, brain and liver of all three animals. Follow-up studies to further define this response in mice are underway.”
The brain and skin of the 3 animals and the liver of both the fish models show greater inflammation, as well as immune responses but the liver of mouse, suppressed this reaction. In a nutshell, the observation of genetic responses’ conserved nature among fish and a mammal indicate light presence that is responsive to genetic circuitry.