Weed killer turns male frogs into females


Azadeh Ansari
CNN
March 2, 2010

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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Atrazine, a weed killer widely used in the Midwestern United States and other agricultural areas of the world, can chemically “castrate” male frogs and turn some into females, according to a new study.

New research suggests the herbicide may be a cause of amphibian declines around the globe, said biologists at the University of California-Berkeley, who conducted the study. The findings are being published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers found that long-term exposure to low levels of atrazine — 2.5 parts per billion of water — emasculated three-quarters of laboratory frogs and turned one in 10 into females. Scientists believe the pesticide interferes with endocrine hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone.

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