Prostate, kidney and ovarian diseases, obesity, and birth abnormalities seen in second and third generation offspring of rats exposed to glyphosate
Washington State University researchers have found a variety of diseases and other health problems in the second- and third-generation offspring of rats exposed to glyphosate, the key ingredient of the world's most popular weedkiller, Roundup. In the first study of its kind, the researchers saw descendants of exposed rats developing prostate, kidney and ovarian diseases, obesity, and birth abnormalities.
These adverse transgenerational effects were found to correlate with changes in epigenetic (DNA methylation) patterns in sperm. It is proposed that alterations in gene function caused by these inherited epigenetic DNA methylation changes resulted in damage to various organs and birth defects in the latter generations of animals.
The study was led by Prof Michael Skinner, a WSU professor of biological sciences, who has over the years championed the phenomenon of chemical pollutant-induced transgenerational effects via epigenetic mechanisms. In this study, Prof Skinner and his colleagues exposed pregnant rats to glyphosate between their eighth and 14th days of gestation.