DEET Exposure: Impacts to Sex Cells in Nematode

DEET ExposureiScience (Shin, N., et al.) 01.19.2024, published “Altered gene expression linked to germline dysfunction following exposure to DEET.” In this article, researchers evaluated the impacts of DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), a commonly used insect and tick repellent, on the reproduction process of nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. 

Internal DEET levels within the range detected in human biological samples, caused several alterations and disruptions of gene expression in C. elegans. DEET exposure was linked to impaired meiosis (process in sexually-reproducing animals that reduces the number of chromosomes in a cell before reproduction) and compromised genomic integrity. DEET exposure was also linked to chromosomal abnormalities, impaired early embryogenesis (early development and formation of the embryo) and mitochondrial and germline dysfunction.

The authors state that the study findings may be relevant to mammalian reproductive health however, further investigation is required.

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