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Environ Res. 2006 Jan;100(1):3-17.

Contaminant-induced feminization and demasculinization of nonmammalian vertebrate males in aquatic environments.

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Department of Zoology, 223 Bartram Hall, P.O. Box 118525, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.


Many chemicals introduced into the environment by humans adversely affect embryonic development and the functioning of the male reproductive system. It has been hypothesized that these developmental alterations are due to the endocrine-disruptive effects of various environmental contaminants. The endocrine system exhibits an organizational effect on the developing embryo. Thus, a disruption of the normal hormonal signals can permanently modify the organization and future function of the male reproductive system. A wide range of studies examining wildlife either in laboratories or in natural settings have documented alterations in the development of males. These studies have begun to provide the causal relationships between embryonic contaminant exposure and reproductive abnormalities that have been lacking in pure field studies of wild populations. An understanding of the developmental consequences of endocrine disruption in wildlife can lead to new indicators of exposure and a better understanding of the most sensitive life stages as well as the consequences of exposure during these periods.

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