CERC Science Topic: Endocrine Disruption

shovelnose sturgeon testis with black eggs    The ability of certain chemical contaminants to affect reproductive and developmental processes in fish and wildlife species has long been known. An increasingly persuasive body of evidence indicates that many of these chemicals cause such effects through interference and disruption of normal endocrine function. Some of these endocrine-disrupting chemicals are from agricultural or industry, while it has become more evident that certain pharmaceutical, veterinary, and personal health care products chemicals have very specific cellular targets associated with endocrine functions. 
    CERC studies the effects of environmental contaminants on fish reproduction at population (eg., fecundity and spawning) and organism or sub-organism levels (eg., gonad morphology, reproductive hormones, and gene expression). We also focus on contaminant-related effects on fish development, as this is generally the most sensitive life stage. Our studies include evaluation of chemicals for reproductive or developmental toxicity with determination of threshold concentrations for adverse effects. 
    The other endocrine disruption studies we conduct are field investigations to evaluate threats to populations and identification of causal agents to reproductive impairment in fish and wildlife. The goals of this research are to develop tools and information useful to natural resource managers when evaluating the potential effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals in the environment.
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