Atrazine is an organic chemical compound used as a pesticide to control grassy weeds in crops. Though banned in Europe because of its supposed correlation with mammalian as well as amphibian birth defects, it is currently the most widely used pesticide in America. It works by inhibiting electron transport in the unwanted plants by binding the plastoquinone binding protein in photosystem II. However, as further research is being done, scientists are starting to see that the chemical may also be restricting electron transport in non-photosynthetic organisms such as frogs and even humans. A study done by scientist Tyrone Hayes showed that frogs exposed to extremely small quantities of atrazine resulted in vast reproductive issues, including the expression of both male and female sex organs. The review in The Biology of Reproduction highlights some of the important aspects of these experiments which will be explained throughout this paper.
In this experiment, four different amounts of atrazine (0mg/kg, 50mg/kg, 100mg/kg, and 200mg/kg) were given to rats over the course of 4 days to test its effects on LH, FSH, and the gonadotropin releasing hormone. For the first set of graphs (A-F) shown in The Biology of Reproduction, It can be seen that the effect on LH is extensive (graphs A-C). At 0mg/kg, LH was at around 60 ng/mL and with the exposure to atrazine, the levels dropped to under 20 ng/mL. The graph of the area under the curve also furthers this point. The initial, 0mg/kg reading is around 200 whereas atrazine lowers the area to around 50 with even the lowest exposure of 50mg/kg. The effects of atrazine of FSH, though not as great as with LH, are still obvious. At 0mg, the FSH levels were around 15 ng/mL. With the addition of 50mg/kg, 100mg/kg, and 200mg/kg of atrazine FSH levels decreased to around 11, 13, and 12 ng/mL, respectively. As with LH, the AUC for FSH also decreased with the addition of atrazine. The second set of graphs given for this experiment...
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