Effects of Environmental Atrazine Contamination on Rana Pipiens Gonadal Development

Patricia Hom : Integrative Biology

Mentor: Professor Tyrone Hayes, Integrative Biology

Atrazine is the most widely used herbicide in the U.S., with over 76 million pounds of the active ingredient applied annually. Recently, atrazine has been shown to cause endocrine disrupting effects in many vertebrates. When treated with atrazine in the lab, male Rana pipiens develop pseudohermaphrotidic testes which produce oocytes instead of sperm. This phenomenon has been characterized in frogs from areas of known atrazine contamination. However, there is no evidence directly linking atrazine to these gonadal abonormalities in the wild. In this area-specific study, I will raise field-collected frogs in atrazine-contaminated water from their natal lay site, as well as clean water obtained from this site on a different occasion. I will thus be able to elucidate the differential effect of environmental atrazine contamination in a controlled setting, bridging the gap between the field and the laboratory. This project will culminate in the writing of my senior honor’s thesis in Integrative Biology.