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)

5 thoughts on “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.”

  1. Birdie121

    He spoke at my university last year. Amazing dude, very passionate researcher.

  2. raptor762x51

    THEY’RE PUTTING CHEMICALS IN THE WATER THAT ARE TURNING THE FRICKING FROGS GAY!

  3. craftmacaro

    It didn’t end his career. They tried and failed. He’s a well respected scientist still working on the effects of various chemicals on indicator species like xenopus laevis. Also, Syngenta hired him TO perform the original experiment, thinking their product was harmless but obviously freaking out when it was shown to cause massive estrogen/testosterone hormone level issues due to the aromatase activity.

    Source: my PI hosted him when he spoke at my university a few years ago. I’ve drank beers with the man, heard his story in both a public presentation and personally in private conversation as well as following his career since then. He is a BIG personality and very flamboyant (not in a sexuality way, just a large personality… you know when he’s in a room, both by his speaking volume and his choice of wardrobe). He is not anyone’s stereotype of a scientist but he’s massively respected in the herpetology and toxicology fields and is still a full professor and PI as far as I know. He’s certainly still prolific: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.researchgate.net/profile/Tyrone-Hayes/amp

  4. Thercon_Jair

    And this is why the increasing funding of Universities by corporations is worrysome.

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