Herd history


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Saint Lawrence belugas

Lesions and contaminants


From 1983 to 1997, we have reported a case of true hermaphroditism (two sets of gonads of both sexes) and a case of pseudohermaphroditism (a complete set of gonads with the presence of morphological contradictions). The presence of these abnormalities in such a small population is provocative. True hermaphroditism has not been found in cetaceans elsewhere in the world, and there are only three other occurrences of pseudohermaphroditism in cetaceans worldwide, only one of which has been reported in Odontocetes. Organochlorinated compounds, which are found at high levels in Saint Lawrence beluga tissues, are recognized as estrogenic; they cause feminization and hermaphroditism of male reptiles, fish and birds. Their effects on sexual development in mammals are currently the focus of intense research.


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