Michael Skinner’s biggest discovery began, as often happens in science stories like this one, with a brilliant failure. In his laboratories at Washington State University, Skinner and a research fellow had exposed pregnant rats to an endocrine disruptor—a chemical known to interfere with fetal development—in the hope of disturbing (and thereby gaining more insight into) the process by which an unborn fetus becomes either male or female. But the chemical they used, an agricultural fungicide called vinclozolin, had not affected sexual differentiation after all.
By accident, Skinner’s colleague bred the grandchildren of those exposed rats, creating a fourth generation, or the great-grandchildren of the original subjects.
What they found changed the direction of Skinner’s research and challenged a bedrock principle of modern biology.
Read the full, original story here: The Toxins That Affected Your Great-Grandparents Could Be In Your Genes