Popular Weed Killer Feminizes Native Leopard Frogs
Are feminized frogs a canary in the cage? Loss of amphibians in its own right is unacceptable. But are there problems yet unknown higher up the cornbelt food chain?
"Native male leopard frogs throughout the nation's Corn Belt are being feminized by an herbicide, atrazine, used extensively to kill weeds on the country's leading export crops, corn and soybeans, according to a survey conducted by University of California, Berkeley, biologists and reported this week in Nature."
[...] "Atrazine has been used on crops since 1956 and currently is the most widely used herbicide in the nation".
[...] "Hayes suspects that atrazine boosts the activity of an enzyme, aromatase, that converts male sex hormones, or androgens, to female hormones, or estrogens. The lowered androgens and increased estrogens allow egg cells to grow within the testes, which is normally impossible. Atrazine's effects on aromatase have been demonstrated in fish, reptiles and mammals, but not yet in amphibians.
posted by fred1st
on Oct 31, 2002 -