Medindia

X

The Pesticide That Gives a Sex Change to Frogs

by Savitha C Muppala on  March 4, 2010 at 11:26 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
 The Pesticide That Gives a Sex Change to Frogs
Atrazine, one of the world's most widely used pesticides, can turn male frogs into females, according to a new study by University of California, Berkeley, biologists.
Advertisement

According to researchers, atrazine wreaks havoc with the sex lives of adult male frogs, emasculating three-quarters of them and turning one in 10 into females.

The 75 percent that are chemically castrated are essentially "dead" because of their inability to reproduce in the wild, reports UC Berkeley's Tyrone B. Hayes, professor of integrative biology.

"These male frogs are missing testosterone and all the things that testosterone controls, including sperm. So their fertility is as low as 10 percent in some cases, and that is only if we isolate those animals and pair them with females," he said. "In an environment where they are competing with unexposed animals, they have zero chance of reproducing."

The 10 percent or more that turn from males into females - something not known to occur under natural conditions in amphibians - can successfully mate with male frogs but, because they are genetically male, all their offspring are male.

"When we grow these guys up, depending on the family, we will get anywhere from 10 to 50 percent females," Hayes said. "In a population, the genetically male females can decrease or wipe out a population just because they skew sex ratios so badly."

Though the experiments were performed on a common laboratory frog, the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis), field studies indicate that atrazine, a potent endocrine disruptor, similarly affects frogs in the wild, and could possibly be one of the causes of amphibian declines around the globe, Hayes said.

Hayes and his UC Berkeley colleagues report their results in this week's online early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: ANI
SAV

Post your Comments

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
User Avatar
* Your comment can be maximum of 2500 characters
Notify me when reply is posted I agree to the terms and conditions
Advertisement