ABOVE: C. elegans gonads from a worm that was exposed to diethylhexyl phthalate (bottom), which shows defects in meiosis (yellow arrowheads), and from a worm that was treated with a solvent (top)
L. CUENCA ET AL., PLOS GENETICS, DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1008529, 2020

Diethylhexyl phthalate, a widely used plasticizer associated with reproductive harm in mammals, leads to defects during meiosis in roundworms (Caenorhabditis elegans), researchers report in a study published on January 9 in PLOS Genetics.

Using a previously developed technology that causes worms to glow green when they display reproductive abnormalities, the researchers uncovered several aberrations during the process of meiosis in female worms, including double-stranded DNA breaks that weren’t properly repaired, altered chromosome morphology, eggs with the wrong number of chromosomes, and impaired embryogenesis, according to a press release.

“These are completely new findings and hopefully will shed some light as to how this phthalate...

L. Cuenca et al., “Environmentally-relevant exposure to diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) alters regulation of double-strand break formation and crossover designation leading to germline dysfunction in Caenorhabditis elegans,” doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1008529, 2020.

Amy Schleunes is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at aschleunes@the-scientist.com.

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