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Atrazine induces penis abnormalities including hypospadias in mice

  • Luke C. Govers (a1), Alesia P. Harper (a1), Bethany J. Finger (a1), Deidre M. Mattiske (a1), Andrew J. Pask (a1) and Mark P. Green (a1)...


Use of the herbicide atrazine (ATR) is banned in the European Union; yet, it is still widely used in the USA and Australia. ATR is known to alter testosterone and oestrogen production and thus reproductive characteristics in numerous species. In this proof of concept study, we examined the effect of ATR exposure, at a supra-environmental dose (5 mg/kg bw/day), beginning on E9.5 in utero, prior to sexual differentiation of the reproductive tissues, until 26 weeks of age, on the development of the mouse penis. Notably, this is the first study to specifically investigate whether ATR can affect penis characteristics. We show that ATR exposure, beginning in utero, causes a shortening (demasculinisation) of penis structures and increases the incidence of hypospadias in mice. These data indicate the need for further studies of ATR on human reproductive development and fertility, especially considering its continued and widespread use.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr. Mark Green, School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia. Email:


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