Functional behavior and reproduction in androgenic sex reversed zebrafish (Danio rerio).

Research paper by Mia G MG Larsen, Erik E Baatrup

Indexed on: 08 Sep '10Published on: 08 Sep '10Published in: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry


Endocrine-disrupting chemicals released into natural watercourses may cause biased sex ratios by sex reversal in fish populations. The present study investigated the androgenic sex reversal of zebrafish (Danio rerio) exposed to the androgenic compound 17beta-trenbolone (TB) and whether sex-changed females would revert to the female phenotype after cessation of TB exposure. 17beta-Trenbolone is a metabolite of trenbolone acetate, an anabolic steroid used as a growth promoter in beef cattle. 17beta-Trenbolone in runoff from cattle feedlots may reach concentrations that affect fish sexual development. Zebrafish were exposed to a concentration of 20 ng/L TB in a flow-through system for five months from egg until sexual maturity. This resulted in an all-male population. It was further found that all these phenotypic males displayed normal male courtship behavior and were able to reproduce successfully, implying that the sex reversal was complete and functional. None of the phenotypic males developed into females after six months in clean water, demonstrating that androgenic sex reversal of zebrafish is irreversible.