Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
ISBN: 9781305389892



Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
ISBN: 9781305389892
Textbook Problem

Contamination of water by agricultural chemicals affects the reproductive function of some animals. Are there effects on humans? Epidemiologist Shanna Swan and her colleagues studied sperm collected from men in four cities in the United States (Table). The men were partners of women who had become pregnant and were visiting a prenatal clinic, so all were fertile. Of the four cities, Columbia, Missouri, is located in the county with the most farmlands. New York City represents an area with no agriculture.

Data from a Study of Sperm Collected from Men Who Were Partners of Pregnant Women Who Visited Prenatal Health Clinics in One of Four Cities

Location of Clinic
Columbia, Missouri Los Angeles, California Minneapolis, Minnesota New York, New York
Average age 30.7 29.8 32.2 36.1
Percent nonsmokers 79.5 70.5 85.8 81.6
Percent with history of STD* 11.4 12.9 13.6 15.8
Sperm count (million/ml) 58.7 80.8 98.6 102.9
Percent motile sperm 48.2 54.5 52.1 56.4

*STD stands for sexually transmitted disease.

Do these data support the hypothesis that living near farmlands can adversely affect male reproductive function?

Source: S. Swan et al. 2003. Geographic differences in semen quality of fertile US males. Environmental Health Perspectives 111:414–420

Summary Introduction

To review:

Whether the given data support the hypothesis that living near farmlands can affect male reproductive function adversely. The data is as follows:

Biology: The Dynamic Science (MindTap Course List), Chapter 49, Problem 3ITD


The male reproductive system functions under optimum conditions. Any imbalances in hormones, ions, and other essential chemicals that contribute to the system would adversely affect it. A common example is an exposure to pesticides and other chemicals involved in agriculture that affect the fertility of males.


Sperm count and sperm motility in Columbia is lower as compared to other cities as Columbia has more farmlands. In general, organophosphates pesticides, which are commonly used in farmlands, have adverse effects on the sperm quality of an individual...

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