Recent animal experiments confirmed that paternal 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) exposure decreases the sex ratio of offspring at birth without altering litter size. However, the timing of this decrease remained unclear. Male mice were administered TCDD at 7-12 weeks of age and mated with non-treated females. The Y-bearing/X-bearing sperm ratio was examined by real-time PCR and FISH methods, and the sex ratio of the 2-cell embryos collected from non-treated females that had been mated with TCDD-exposed males were investigated by nested PCR. The Y-bearing/X-bearing sperm ratio was not significantly decreased in the TCDD group. However, the sex ratio of the 2-cell embryos of the TCDD group was significantly lower than that of the control group. These results may have resulted from a decrease in fertility of Y-bearing sperm. Thus, the results of this study suggested that the sex ratio of the offspring was decreased at fertilization and not during the spermatozoa stage.
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