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Open Access Commentary

Fish populations surviving estrogen pollution

Claus Wedekind

Author Affiliations

Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, Biophore, Lausanne, 1015, Switzerland

BMC Biology 2014, 12:10  doi:10.1186/1741-7007-12-10

Published: 10 February 2014


Among the most common pollutants that enter the environment after passing municipal wastewater treatment are estrogens, especially the synthetic 17α-ethinylestradiol that is used in oral contraceptives. Estrogens are potent endocrine disruptors at concentrations frequently observed in surface waters. However, new genetic analyses suggest that some fish populations can be self-sustaining even in heavily polluted waters. We now need to understand the basis of this tolerance.

See research article: webcite