Thursday, April 3, 2014

Epigenetics - Pesticides #3

A team of reproductive biologists at the University of Austin ran a study on sexual behavior in animals. They exposed the animals to a common fungicide commonly used by grape growers. One group continued to receive a normal diet without the chemical. They exposed the other group to the pesticide, separated the females from the males with a wire mesh barrier, and then observed them to see if they continued to mate normally. The females were less sexually interested in males who’d been exposed. And what was even more interesting was that for three generations the females tended to ignore the exposed animals and their offspring. The females’ response to the healthy males was unchanged. The females could tell something was wrong with the exposed males, even though they couldn’t see it. The researchers speculated that the pesticide may have turned off or damaged the gene that helps males win females over. They speculated that the same problem may be showing up in humans.
Crews D, Gore A, Hsu T, Dangleben N, Spinetta M, Schallert T, Anway M, Skinner M. "Transgenerational epigenetic imprints on mate preference." Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2007;104(14):5942-6. 

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