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Environ Res. 2006 Jan;100(1):77-85.

Offspring sex ratios at birth as markers of paternal endocrine disruption.

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  • The Galton Laboratory, University College London, Wolfson House, 4 Stephenson Way, London NW 1 2 HE, UK. c.auger@elsevier.com


There is good evidence that paternal (and maternal) hormone levels at the time of conception are associated with offspring sex ratios (proportions male) at birth. The mechanisms underlying this association (pre- or postzygotic) are not of primary relevance here. When people are exposed to endocrine-disrupting agents, these agents may have different hormonal effects on men and women. So, if endocrine disruption is to be revealed by offspring sex ratios, it is necessary to categorize the sexes of subsequent offspring by the four possible parental mating classes, viz. exposed/unexposed mothers/fathers. In general, substantially altered sex ratios may reveal endocrine disruption, but the tiny (admittedly significant) secular meanderings of national live birth sex ratios across the 20th Century (and before) are not now readily interpretable.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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