Scientists have now demonstrated that a variety of environmental toxicants can have negative effects on not just an exposed animal but the next three generations of its offspring. The animal's DNA sequence remains unchanged, but the compounds change the way genes turn on and off -- the epigenetic effect, according to molecular biologists. The researchers saw females reaching puberty earlier, increased rates in the decay and death of sperm cells and lower numbers of ovarian follicles that later become eggs.
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