Navigation Links
Research proves 'gender-bending' chemicals affect reproduction

New research has provided the first evidence that 'gender bending' chemicals which find their way from human products into rivers and oceans can have a significant impact on the ability of fish to breed in UK Rivers.

The findings from the four year study, led by the universities of Exeter and Brunel, has important implications for understanding the impacts of these chemicals on ecosystem health and possibly on humans.

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) disrupt the ways that hormones work in the bodies of vertebrates (animals with backbones), including humans.

They can be found in everything from female contraceptive drugs and hormone replacement therapy pills, to washing up liquid, with the most well studied EDCs being those that mimic oestrogen (female hormone).

EDCs have been seeping into rivers through the sewage system for decades and have an observed effect on fish, altering male biology to make them more female hence the 'gender bending' reputation of these chemicals.

Until now, there has been no solid evidence to show the long-term impact of this effect on fish in the wild - but the new research focusing on wild roach in two UK rivers (Bourne and Arun) has provided new evidence.

Two large-scale breeding studies assessed the ability of fish to breed by using a genetic technique (DNA microsatellites) to match offspring produced to their parents.

It was found that intersex fish those that had their sexuality compromised by EDCs and which contain both male (sperm) and female (eggs) sex cells had their reproductive performance reduced by up to 76%.

Charles Tyler, from the University of Exeter's Biosciences department, jointly led the research alongside Professor John Sumpter, from the Institute of Environment at Brunel University.

Prof Tyler said: "This is the first time we've seen firm evidence that the intersex fish, males that have been feminised by EDCs, have a reduced ability to breed.

"Clearly this raises concerns about the implications on the future for wild fish populations living in UK rivers, but there's also much wider issues raised by these findings. Some of the effects seen in fish could occur in other animals too as hormone systems are quite similar across all vertebrates.

"EDCs have been tentatively linked with human health impacts too, including, falling sperm counts and cardio-vascular disease. These findings remain more controversial," Prof Tyler added. "In contrast, we have shown, unequivocally that environmental oestrogens alter sexual development in fish and now, through this study, that this can impact on their ability to breed".

Fish are seen as a key indicator of the impacts of chemicals such as EDCs because they soak them up in far larger quantities than humans ever would, concentrating any potential side-effects.

Their biology also means they are particularly prone to the feminising effects of EDCs because their sex is not decided until after birth meaning they are more susceptible to outside influence.

Prof Tyler concluded: "Fish still share many biological links with humans and the fact that their reproduction has the potential to be affected by EDCs is certainly a cause for concern. From a risk assessment point of view, these results are very significant."


Contact: Daniel Williams
University of Exeter

Related biology news :

1. Worlds largest, most complex marine virus is major player in ocean ecosystems: UBC research
2. UF research gives clues about carbon dioxide patterns at end of Ice Age
3. Researchers find a stable way to store the suns heat
4. UMD to lead $5 million NSF-funded research partnership to develop drought-tolerant canola crops
5. UMMS biomedical researchers develop more reliable, less expensive synthetic graft material
6. NSF awards grants for research on coupled natural and human systems
7. Entire issue of scientific journal devoted to center headed by Scripps Research Scientists
8. Malaria research begins to bite
9. Strategies for translational research in the UK
10. Researchers develop first implanted device to treat balance disorder
11. LSUHSC awarded $12 million for cancer, infectious diseases research & research pipeline
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Research proves 'gender-bending' chemicals affect reproduction
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2, 2016 Perimeter Surveillance & ... Systems, Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  ... offers comprehensive analysis of the global Border ... generate revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. ... a leader in software and hardware technologies for advanced ...
(Date:5/16/2016)...   EyeLock LLC , a market leader of ... an IoT Center of Excellence in Austin, ... of embedded iris biometric applications. EyeLock,s iris ... security with unmatched biometric accuracy, making it the most ... EyeLock,s platform uses video technology to deliver a fast ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 ... subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung ... global partnership that will provide end customers with a ... and payment services.      (Logo: ... for financial services, but it also plays a fundamental part ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking ... Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. ... Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... offering new biological discoveries to the medical community, has ... and co-founder Matthew Nunez . "We ... provide us with the capital we need to meet ... funding will essentially provide us the runway to complete ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only free ... and will showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June 30, ... poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. DIA ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 22, 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ... QB3@953 life sciences incubator to accelerate the ... shared laboratory space at QB3@953 was created to help ... obstacle for many early stage organizations - access to ... sponsorship, Amgen launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, providing ...
Breaking Biology Technology: