The findings could have implications for how BPA, or Bisphenol A, may affect human development and behavior, said the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“The BPA-exposed deer mice in our study look normal; there is nothing obviously wrong with them. Yet, they are clearly different,” said lead author Cheryl Rosenfeld at the University of Missouri.
“Females do not want to mate with BPA-exposed male deer mice, and BPA-exposed males perform worse on spatial navigation tasks that assess their ability to find female partners in the wild.”
Mother deer mice were fed a diet with levels of BPA that were proportional to the amount the US government considers safe for pregnant women to ingest.
The lab mice were fed this diet for two weeks prior to breeding and throughout lactation.
After their babies were weaned, the offspring were fed a BPA-free diet and their behaviors were monitored into adulthood.