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Pollutants suppress male characters

Some pesticides like DDT, dioxins and chemicals cause the suppression.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, Ahmedabad
UPDATED ON JAN 05, 2005 01:41 PM IST

Pollutants such as DDT and dioxins are feared to have caused sex ratio alterations in Italy and Russia through suppression of male characteristics, a US scientist said.

Some pesticides like DDT, dioxins and chemicals used in refrigerator compressors have "antoandrogenic effect", leading to suppression of expression of male characteristics, Prof Debdas Mukherjee, senior scientist at US Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, told the 92nd Session of Indian Science Congress.

Seveso in Italy and two places in Russia experienced the phenomenon wherein more female births were reported, skewing the birth ratio, he said, adding it might be due to presence of these pollutants in the atmosphere.

Mukherjee said he studied two female cases at the MD Anderson Cancer Centre, University of Texas, in 1972 having chromosomes like males.

Analysis of their genetics showed that these females did not have chromosomes specific to females, though they had all female characteristics, he said.

While females have two "X" chromosomes, males have one "X" and one"Y" chromosome, these females had one "X" and one "Y" chromosome, Mukherjee said, adding they were not able to reach menstruation.

The male chromosomes, in these females, are believed to have failed to express due to pollutants, which resulted in development of female characteristics, he said.

Pollutants, which are "endocrine disrupting chemicals", have been seen to lead to precocious onset of puberty in females at the age of 6-7 years and even onset of menstruation at the age of nine-ten years, he added.

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