As a demonstration, the scientists studied the effects of MethylMercury, a toxin known to modify behavior in mammals. The cockroaches fed methlymercury had notable, concentration-dependent changes in behavior and measurable changes in acetylcholinesteras (a nervous system enzyme) and several detoxification enzymes. Similar behavioral and biochemical deficits are found in rodents exposed to methyl mercury. Nauphoeta cinerea use could greatly expand the number and types of experiments and suggest which tests are most worthy of repeating in lab rats. Use of cockroaches would meet the goal of many national and international agencies of reducing the amount of testing done on mammals.
*Isaac A. Adedaraabc, Denis B. Rosemberga, Diogo O. Souzab, Jean P. Kamdemab, Ebenezer O. Farombic, Michael Aschnerd and Joao B. T. Rocha. Biochemical and behavioral deficits in the lobster cockroach Nauphoeta cinerea model of methylmercury exposure. Toxicol. Res., Advance Article