Could fluorescent lighting be changing your DNA?

Hays

SAN MARCOS, Texas — Researchers at Texas State University are conducting research that suggests the light temperature and wavelengths from fluorescent lighting could be altering our genetic code. 

Dr. Ronald Walter from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Texas State University is leading the research. In short, Walter and is office have been conducting experiments on fish in hopes to determine exactly what effects the light has. 

“Fish is a good invertebrate model, they have all of the 22,000 genes that you and I have, I can make many of them so I can do statically significant studies,” said Walter. 

The various species and breeds of fish in the lab are exposed to constant fluorescent light. At first, Walter and his team started research on treating Melanoma. It was when an undergraduate stumbled upon the effects of light on the fish. 

“The melanoma that we can induce in these animals — in the fish, biochemically, genetically, is very similar to human melanoma. So if we find genes that are susceptible to human melanoma in these fish models then we can translate that to the human condition,” added Walter. 

The light from a fluorescent lightbulb can induce a reaction from the interferons of mice and fish that are found all over their bodies. The hypothesis is that lighting and the wavelengths fluorescent light disperse could be used to treat humans one day. 

“If that translates to humans, then presumably one might be able to put patients under certain lighting conditions to up or down regulate pathways to make drug therapy more effectuations.”

Walter and his team have been working with the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio for these experiments. Currently, there are more follow up tests being implemented. 

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