Underlying drivers of species extinctions need to be better understood for effective conservation of biodiversity. Nearly half of all amphibian species are at risk of extinction, and pollution may be a significant threat as seasonal high-level agrochemical use overlaps with critical windows of larval development. The potential of environmental chemicals to reduce the fitness of future generations may have profound ecological and evolutionary implications. This study characterized effects of male developmental exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of the anti-androgenic pesticide linuron over two generations of offspring in Xenopus tropicalis frogs. The adult male offspring of pesticide-exposed fathers (F1) showed reduced body size, decreased fertility, and signs of endocrine system disruption. Impacts were further propagated to the grand-offspring (F2), providing evidence of transgenerational effects in amphibians. The adult F2 males demonstrated increased weight and fat body palmitoleic-to-palmitic acid ratio, and decreased plasma glucose levels. The study provides important cross-species evidence of paternal epigenetic inheritance and pollutant-induced transgenerational toxicity, supporting a causal and complex role of environmental contamination in the ongoing species extinctions, particularly of amphibians.
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