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All organisms are exposed daily to a cocktail of different manmade chemicals that can be toxic even at low doses. Some studies show measuring subtle changes in molecules called microRNAs can be used as early indicators of damage to the body. microRNAs are small molecules found in all our cells that act as the body’s audit system for cellular communication. When this mechanism fails, cell processes are disrupted and can contribute to declining health and even serious disease. Researchers will study microRNAs in blood samples taken from white-tailed eagles to learn more about how toxic chemicals affect this top-of-the-food-chain raptor species. White-tailed eagles tend to accumulate toxic chemicals that are difficult to excrete. These chemicals get stuck in the eagles’ bodies and can affect their immediate and long-term health. The team hopes findings from this study will provide scientists with a new tool to assess the health effects of chemical pollutants in raptors and other wild animals

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Norwegian University of Science & Technology
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Anne-Fleur Brand, BSc, MSc
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