BPA and Abnormal Meiosis
In 1998, researchers at Case Western University were studying meiosis in mouse oocytes when they saw an unexpected and dramatic increase in abnormal meiosis events (Figure 8.16). The improper sorting of chromosomes into gametes is one of the main causes of human genetic disorders, which we will discuss in Chapter 9.
The researchers discovered that the spike in abnormal meiosis events began immediately after the mouse facility started washing the animals' plastic cages and water bottles in a new, alkaline detergent. The detergent had damaged the plastic, which as a result was leaching bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a synthetic chemical that mimics estrogen, the main female sex hormone in animals. Though it has been banned for use in baby bottles, BPA is still widely used to manufacture other plastic items and epoxies (such as the coating on the inside of metal cans of food). BPA-free plastics are often manufactured with a related compound, bisphenol S (BPS), that has effects similar to BPA.
What percentage of mouse oocytes displayed abnormalities of meiosis with no exposure to damaged caging?
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