PERCHLORATE INDUCES HERMAPHRODITISM IN THREESPINE STICKLEBACKS
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry: No. 25, pp. 2087–2096. Richard R. Bernhardt, Frank A. von Hippel, and William A. Cresko
Abstract–Recently, concern regarding perchlorate contamination has arisen in many contexts. Perchlorate has many military, commercial, and domestic applications, and it has been found in milk, drinking and irrigation water, and produce. Perchlorate is harmful at low levels, yet it remains unregulated in the United States while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency attempts to establish acceptable exposure levels. The present study investigated potential reproductive effects on vertebrates using a model fish species, the threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Sticklebacks were raised from syngamy through sexual maturity in untreated water and in three target concentrations of sodium perchlorate–treated water. Perchlorate was found to interfere with the expression of nuptial coloration, courtship behavior, and normal sexual development. Genetic testing revealed that some females were masculinized.
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