Macho Moms: Perchlorate pollutant masculinizes fish | Science News



Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


Macho Moms: Perchlorate pollutant masculinizes fish

10:53am, August 9, 2006

Known largely as a component of rocket fuel, perchlorate is a pollutant that often turns up in soil and water. In dozens of studies, it has perturbed thyroid-hormone concentrations, which can affect growth and neurological development. Data from fish now indicate that perchlorate can also disrupt sexual development.

Some of the changes were so dramatic that scientists initially mistook female fish for males. Several females displayed male-courtship behavior and produced sperm.

Richard R. Bernhardt of the University of Alaska in Anchorage and his colleagues focused on threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus)

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content