Frequency analysis of electrophoretically-detected enzymes may be a good biological indicator of impacts in aquatic systems. Frequencies of allozyme genotypes have been correlated with exposure to contaminants in natural populations. Additionally, toxicity tests have shown that individuals with certain allozyme genotypes are more sensitive than others to toxicity from pollutants. Therefore, contaminants may select against individuals with sensitive genotypes causing significant changes in allele and genotype frequencies of allozymes. Enzymes may be targets of toxicity or linked to other genetic loci that ultimately determine individual tolerance. Changes in allele and genotype frequencies may reduce the fitness and genetic variability in populations, leaving them more susceptible to further environmental stressors.
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