Home » Business & Industrial » Agriculture & Forestry » Biologist Tyrone Hayes published an experiment that showed pesticide Atrazine was turning frogs from male to female. In response, manufacturer Syngenta spent years spying on him and conducting an extensive campaign to create a scandal that would end his career.

Biologist Tyrone Hayes published an experiment that showed pesticide Atrazine was turning frogs from male to female. In response, manufacturer Syngenta spent years spying on him and conducting an extensive campaign to create a scandal that would end his career.

A Valuable Reputation

In 2001, seven years after joining the biology faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, Tyrone Hayes stopped talking about his research with people he didn’t trust. He instructed the students in his lab, where he was raising three thousand frogs, to hang up the phone if they heard a click, a signal that a third party might be on the line. Other scientists seemed to remember events differently, he noticed, so he started carrying an audio recorder to meetings. “The secret to a happy, successful life of paranoia,” he liked to say, “is to keep careful track of your persecutors.”

Three years earlier, Syngenta, one of the largest agribusinesses in the world, had asked Hayes to conduct experiments on the herbicide atrazine, which is … Continue Reading (34 minute read)

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