Environmental chemicals and meiosis Essay

The female reproductive system is composed of the uterus, ovaries, uterine tubes, vagina, and accessory glands. It plays a different role which includes the production of ova, fertilization, and development of the offspring. Various factors determine the deleterious effects of environmental chemical toxins on the functioning of the female reproductive system.

Aneuploidy transmitted through the germ cells is one of the very common forms of damage in chromosomes known to be present in humans. Environmental chemicals may change the reproductive system through direct or indirect processes. Direct effects generally take place when an environmental chemical is structurally the same as that of an endogenous component and have the ability to enter reproductive organs. In this situation, the chemical can change the general cellular mechanisms such as meiosis, mitosis, differentiation, programmed cell death, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) repair, and migration. These changes can result in abnormal functioning of cells. Chemicals may interfere with the functioning of mitochondria. An indirect effect may take place when a chemical need metabolic conversion within the body before it gets the capacity to exert the toxic effect. Indirect effects also can take place when an environmental chemical interferes with the endogenous hormones.

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The cell division is of two types, mitosis and meiosis. The mitosis occurs in all the somatic cells present in the multicellular organism’s body. Meiosis is the cell division occurring to generate the haploid germ cells. Gametes are produced by meiosis. Spermatogenesis involves meiosis in males and results in the production of sperms, and oogenesis involves meiosis in females and results in the production of the egg cell. Meiosis in the male reproductive cell is completed, once started, but in female reproductive cells, meiosis resumes when a follicle matures and gets interrupted. Meiosis is divided into 2 steps, namely meiosis I and meiosis II. In the complete process f meiosis, there are 9 different stages, which are described as follows:

Meiosis I:

Prophase I: In this phase, the breakage of the nuclear envelope takes place and the condensation of the chromosomes occurs. It is further divided into 5 stages: leptotene, zygotene, pachytene, diplotene, and diakinesis. Crossing over takes place in the pachytene stage of prophase I. The spindle fibers create the structure of a protein that divides the cellular genetic material into two parts. The spindle fibers are proteins that divide the cellular genetic material into two parts. The spindle fibers are essential to make an equal division of chromosomes of the parent cells and make them segregated in the daughter cells. The fibers are referred to as meiotic spindles. When the nucleus starts to divide, wheel-shaped structures called centrioles align themselves at the opposite ends of the cell.

Metaphase I: In this phase of meiosis, the homologous chromosomes are lined on the equatorial plate.

Anaphase I: In this phase, the homologous chromosomes move to the cell’s opposite poles, causing a decrease in ploidy from 2n to n.

Telophase I and cytokinesis I: In this phase, the chromosomes decondense at the poles of the cells, and the division of cytoplasm takes place, resulting in the formation of two haploid cells.

Interphase: It is a short period, in which cells rest between two subsequent divisions.

Meiosis II:

Prophase II: In this phase, the chromosome condensation takes place again; new spindles are formed around the chromosome.

Metaphase II: In this phase, the chromosomes align at the center of the cells, and spindle fibers attach to each chromosome.

Anaphase II: In this phase, the centromere divide, and the chromatids separate moving to the opposite poles.

Telophase II and cytokinesis II: In telophase, the nuclear envelope forms around each set of chromosomes. In the cytokinesis the cytoplasm divides, resulting in the formation of two cells from each cell meiosis I, hence, four cells.

Impacts of environmental chemicals on meiosis in plants:
In agriculture, an increased amount of chemicals are used for various purposes. Increased usage of agrochemicals affects the plants through the groundwater contamination and heavy metals released from the industries and they cause deleterious meiotic effects in plants. Many anthropogenic factors such as heavy metals, combustible gases, and agrochemicals highly influence the meiotic process in different species of plants. Pesticides are a kind of agrochemicals in modern agriculture that are necessary for reducing the loss of yield. Various experiments conducted by researchers shows the influence of groups of pesticides on meiosis. The experiments done by Wuu and his colleagues on Barley seeds represent the influence of herbicides on meiosis. Barley seeds are soaked in 3-1-methoxy-1-methyl urea for 1 day before sowing, and meiocytes obtained from the treated plants were observed cytologically. Sharma and his colleagues showed the influence of 3 more herbicides on barley seeds by applying over them. The 3 selected herbicides, terbacil, bromacil, and lenacil are applied for 6 hours. The barley seeds treated with terbacil showed a decreased frequency of chiasma. Plants that are exposed to different chemicals in air fresheners for about 1-6 hours show the increased number of micronuclei in their cells and it shows the sensitivity of meiosis to external chemical factors.

Effects of industrial chemicals on meiosis in animals:
Several chemicals from different industries are released into the environment and workplace such as polychlorinated biphenyls, ethylene oxide, and tetrachorodibenxo dioxin. These chemicals are not well analyzed in humans, and their effects in reproductive biology are studied poorly. DEHP (Di (2- Ethylhexyl) phthalate) interfere with the meiosis (cell division) during the production of eggs, early embryonic development, and it results in the increased breakage of DNA and changes the appearance of the chromosome.

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