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Pollution of the aquatic environment is a global concern due to devastating effects of contaminants (heavy metals, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, polychlorinated biphenyls, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, insecticides, etc.) whose levels are growing at an alarming rate. Ecosystems are under the pressure of complex mixtures of contaminants whose effects are not always simple to assess (Picado et al., 2007). Heavy metals are considered to be one of the most widespread groups of micro contaminants because of their persistent nature and slow elimination from environmental compartments (Fargasova, 1998). Majority of the heavy metals occur naturally in the environment and are released as a result of human activities and natural processes. The rapid development of industry, the fossil fuel burning, together with the waste incineration, industrial waste discharge, and mining has contributed to widespread heavy metal contamination which posed a continuing threat to the aquatic environment (Ma et al., 2009). Contaminants in different segment of the marine environment have become a major threat to the health of the marine ecosystem due to accumulation of their residues in tissues of various species of marine organisms (Sarkar et al., 2006). The process of accumulation of heavy metals or any contaminants in the tissues of the organism within a trophic level is called “bioaccumulation”. Bioaccumulation of the pollutants / contaminants may lead to the accumulation of these substances into the higher trophic level through the food chain; this process is called “biomagnification” (Esser and Moser, 1982).
Traditionally, the pollution monitoring of aquatic ecosystem is carried out by chemical analysis of water and tissue samples of the organisms. An evaluation of the environmental quality of aquatic ecosystems in terms of chemical analysis fails in its objectives as the ecosystems are under the pressure of complex mixtures of contaminants. In addition, the complex mixtures are not always simple to analyze. When the environment monitoring is limited to chemical analysis the effect of pollutants on aquatic biota is not becoming clear (Lam and Gray, 2003). The process of continuous inspection on the presence of pollutants in ecosystem through the assessment of its effects on the biota is called “biomonitoring”. In these circumstances the development of a “tool”, which has the ability to indicate the presence of specific pollutants, is necessary. The importance of “biomarker” approach in ecotoxicological studies may be viewed in this context. Biomarkers, acting as early warning signals against the presence of potentially toxic xenobiotics. They are useful tools for assessing either exposure or bioavailability of the toxicants and providing information about the toxicant effects on organisms. Rapid progress in the field of “genomics” (the study of how an organism’s entire genetic make-up called genome, translates...

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