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Environ Health Perspect. 2003 Apr;111(4):568-75.

Atrazine-induced hermaphroditism at 0.1 ppb in American leopard frogs (Rana pipiens): laboratory and field evidence.

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Laboratory for Integrative Studies in Amphibian Biology, Group in Endocrinology, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, and Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Atrazine is the most commonly used herbicide in the United States and probably the world. Atrazine contamination is widespread and can be present in excess of 1.0 ppb even in precipitation and in areas where it is not used. In the current study, we showed that atrazine exposure (> or = to 0.1 ppb) resulted in retarded gonadal development (gonadal dysgenesis) and testicular oogenesis (hermaphroditism) in leopard frogs (Rana pipiens). Slower developing males even experienced oocyte growth (vitellogenesis). Furthermore, we observed gonadal dysgenesis and hermaphroditism in animals collected from atrazine-contaminated sites across the United States. These coordinated laboratory and field studies revealed the potential biological impact of atrazine contamination in the environment. Combined with reported similar effects in Xenopus laevis, the current data raise concern about the effects of atrazine on amphibians in general and the potential role of atrazine and other endocrine-disrupting pesticides in amphibian declines.

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