Kermit to Kermette?
Does the Herbicide Atrazine Feminize Male Frogs?
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
This case study explores the unintended side effects of chemicals introduced into the environment, specifically organic compounds that can act as environmental estrogens (chemical castration agents that can interfere with the sexual development of embryonic males). The case was developed for a non-majors chemistry course and focuses on the science that underlies the controversy surrounding the sale of the herbicide atrazine in the U.S. as well as the political and economic issues that impact this science.
- Learn about how environmental estrogens can act to feminize embryonic males.
- Acquire experience with the presentation and interpretation of scientific data in graphical form.
- Be exposed to the diverse ways in which the same set of scientific data may be interpreted by groups with different political and economic viewpoints.
- Become aware of the power that lobbying has to influence the political outcome of scientific studies.
KeywordsAtrazine contamination; androgens; decline of amphibians; environmental estrogen; chemical castration agents; feminization of frog larvae; Syngenta, Xenopus laevis; sociology of science
Topical AreasScientific method
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Type / MethodsInterrupted
Subject HeadingsBiochemistry | Chemistry (General) | Environmental Science |
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