Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Sci. 2007;14(5):235-53.

The roach (Rutilus rutilus) as a sentinel for assessing endocrine disruption.

Author information

Environmental and Molecular Fish Biology Group, School of Biosciences, University of Exeter, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4PS, United Kingdom.


Alterations in development and reproduction as a consequence of exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been demonstrated in many wildlife species. Animals living in, or closely associated with, the aquatic environment are particularly vulnerable to endocrine disruption because thousands of chemicals are actively disposed into rivers, estuaries and seas. Fish have thus been a focus in endocrine disruption studies, and some of the most comprehensive studies on the disruption of sexual development and function are on the roach (Rutilus rutilus). This paper provides a critical analysis of the roach as a sentinel for studies into endocrine disruption. The paper starts by describing what is known on the basic reproductive biology of the roach, information essential for interpreting chemical effect measures on sexual development and function. We then analyze where and how the roach has been applied to improve our understanding of the estrogenic nature of discharges from wastewater treatment works (WWTWs) and describe the phenomenon of feminized male roach in UK rivers. In this paper, the causation of these effects and issues of relative susceptibility and sensitivity of the roach to the effects of estrogenic EDCs are addressed. The paper then describes the ongoing work on the development of genetic and genomic resources for roach and analyses how these are being applied in studies to understand the mechanisms of disruption of sexual development. Finally, the paper addresses the biological significance of sexual disruption and intersex for the individual and discusses the possible implications for wild populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center