M.D. Anway et al., "Epigenetic transgenerational actions of endocrine disruptors and male fertility," Science, 308:1466-9, 2005. (Cited in 112 papers)
A group led by Michael Skinner from Washington State University briefly exposed pregnant female rats to endocrine disruptors and found sperm defects in the F1 generation of male rats, which were passed through the male germ line to the F4 generation. Offspring of treated rats also had DNA methylation differences. "Potentially this transgenerational epigenetic mechanism could be how the environment is influencing disease," says Skinner.
The study provided clear evidence of multigenerational effects of environmental exposure, says Andrea Gore, from University of Texas, Austin, who has since collaborated with Skinner's group.
Doses used in the study were higher than those seen in the environment, the authors note. "All bets are off when you extrapolate the findings"...
Skinner's summary of the data:
Effect (for each generation)
Spermatogenic cell death