May 4, 2012Science and Technology
Study reveals that environmental toxicants cause ovarian disease across generations


A new study by Washington University researchers has discovered that not only can ovarian disease result from exposure to a wide range of environmental toxicants, but that the impacts of these toxicants can be inherited.  A team of biologists observed how fungicide, pesticide, plastic, dioxin and hydrocarbon mixtures affected a rat’s progeny for multiple generations. They found that through ‘epigenetic transgenerational inheritance,’ subsequent generations were affected, showing fewer ovarian follicles and increased polycystic ovarian syndrome. "What your great grandmother was exposed to when she was pregnant may promote ovarian disease in you, and you’re going to pass it on to your grandchildren,” Michael Skinner, who led the study, said. "Ovarian disease has been increasing over the past few decades to affect more than 10 percent of the human female population, and environmental epigenetics may provide a reason for this increase.”

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