A University of Texas and Washington State University study asserts that prenatal exposure to the fungicide vinclozolin may alter the stress response of offspring three generations removed from the exposure. David Crews, et al., “Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of altered stress responses,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 21, 2012. The study, which was performed on male rats, found that a single exposure to the widely used fungicide altered the physiology, behavior and metabolic activity of male descendants, leading to different stress responses. Researchers also found that vinclozolin-lineage subjects not exposed to stress gained weight more quickly than non-exposed subjects.
According to the study, the fungicide exposure level was “a higher level than you would expect in the environment” because the substance was used as an agent to promote epigenetic transgenerational inheritance. The researchers plan a future study on female rats. First registered in 1981, vinclozolin is used to control various diseases on certain crops, including raspberries, lettuce, kiwi, and dry-bulb onions.