The Mystery of the Eyeless Shrimp

A few days ago, Al Jazeera reported on deformed sea life showing up in the Gulf of Mexico.  Timed with the second anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, the story focuses on shrimp born without eyes, clawless crabs and sore-covered fish.

I admit I’m disconcerted that there’s no footage or reporting at all on the clawless crabs – without evidence that this is the result of mutation, crabs missing limbs is pretty unremarkable.

Their terminology is also dubious.  Contaminates don’t enter a genome, they affect a genome.  As a close entomologist friend of mine put it, “you don’t all of a sudden wind up with PAHs in your DNA.”

I’m more supportive than he is toward the idea of journalists reporting on scientific information (he understandably has issues with the tendency to dramatize or politicize research), but we’re on the same page that there’s something seriously wrong with this scenario, and it’s more than likely that the oil spill is responsible for an entire generation of seafood bearing genetic mutation.

A shame really.  I’m visiting home soon and would love a softshell crab poboy.

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