We all know to avoid products that have been made with BPA (Bisphenol A) due to its harmful side effects. Now, scientists have discovered that this substance isn’t good for animals as well.
A recent study by researchers from Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri, Westminster College and the Saint Louis Zoo has revealed that the genetic pathways of young turtles can get altered if they are exposed to BPA during their early development. Prior to this study, the team had already found evidence that BPA could disrupt the turtles’ sexual function and behavior.
Two substances – BPA and ethinyl estradiol, a hormone found in birth control pills – were being investigated for their ability to affect the global regulatory pathways of the brain. According to Cheryl Rosenfeld, an investigator at the Bond Life Sciences Center, “Previously, our research team found that exposure to BPA might override the brain development of male turtles and could induce female type behaviors. Our goal for this research was to determine the genetic pathways that correlate to the behavioral changes we identified.”
Subjecting the same turtles from their previous study to a gene expression analysis, 235 genes were identified as being altered in turtles exposed to BPA. “After analyzing the genes, we were able to link gene expression changes to behavioral changes,” said co-author Scott Givan, associate director of MU Informatics Research Core Facility.
According to Rosenfeld, this is the first study to show a correlation between changes in gene expression patterns and behavioral changes in turtles exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals.