By Agence France-Presse
One of the most common weed killers in the world, atrazine, causes chemical castration in frogs and could be contributing to a worldwide decline in amphibian populations, a study published Monday showed.
Researchers compared 40 male control frogs with 40 male frogs reared from hatchlings until full sexual maturity, in atrazine concentrations similar to those experienced year-round in areas where the chemical is found.
Ninety percent of the male frogs exposed to atrazine had low testosterone levels, decreased breeding gland size, feminized laryngeal development, suppressed mating behavior, reduced sperm production and decreased fertility.
And an alarming finding of the study was that the remaining 10 percent of atrazine-exposed male frogs developed into females that copulated with males and produced eggs.
The larvae that developed from those eggs were all male, according to the study by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).