Thursday, March 11, 2010
Demasculinization of frogs (and men?) by pesticides
Male sperm count has dropped dramatically over the past 50 years (~50% in some areas) and one of the prime suspects is estrogen like compounds, such as the pesticide atrazine, that have been introduced into the environment. Atrazine is one of the most commonly applied agricultural pesticides in the world (and, curiously, male sperm count has dropped more in agricultural than in metropolitan areas). Hays et al now show that at levels of only 2.5 parts per billion it can completely feminize amphibian males.