MUTANT FROG FINDS PEACE WITHIN HIMSELF

 

After several weeks of exposure at local golf courses, Kermit the Frog, aka Jabber, has experienced the second epiphany of his life.  In a candid interview, Kermit revealed that he was indeed victim of the chemical atrazine, but surprisingly, the result has been entirely to his liking.

 

"In recent months, my relationships with the opposite sex have become quite complex.  This metamorphic phenomenon has come as an answer to my prayers.  With this duality of sexuality, I am now at peace with myself, (if you know what I mean)," Kermit explained.  "Utopian is the only word to explain my situation," he said in a self-serving tone.

 

In later attempts follow up the interview with Kermit, we were unable to make further contact.  The phone message said "I am in the shower right now and cannot come to the phone.  Please leave a message at the ribbit."

 

Pesticide blamed for sexual mutation in frogs

April 16, 2002 Posted: 10:55 AM EDT (1455 GMT)

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The California red-legged frog  

 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Male frogs exposed to even very low doses of a common weed killer can develop multiple sex organs -- sometimes both male and female -- researchers in California have discovered.

"I was very much surprised," at the impact of atrazine on developing frogs, said Tyrone B. Hayes of the University of California at Berkeley.

Atrazine is the most commonly used weed killer in North America, he said, and can be found in rainwater, snow runoff and ground water.

"There is virtually no atrazine-free environment," Hayes said.

The Environmental Protection Agency permits up to 3 parts per billion of atrazine in drinking water.

But Hayes' team found it affected frogs at doses as small as 0.1 part per billion. As the amount of atrazine increased, as many as 20 percent of frogs exposed during their early development produced multiple sex organs or had both male and female organs. Many had small, feminized larynxes.

Hayes' research team concluded that the effect on the frogs results from atrazine causing cells to produce the enzyme aromatase, which is present in vertebrates and converts the male hormone testosterone to the female hormone estrogen.

The effects on frogs in Hayes' study occurred at exposure levels more than 600 times lower than the dose that has been seen to induce aromatase production in human cells.

Their research is reported in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Asked if atrazine might also be a threat to people at low levels, Hayes said he did not know, adding that, unlike frogs, "we're not in the water all the time."

Rerinted from CNN.COM/SciTech