It seems that researchers at the University of Nevada have discovered that the antibiotic tetracycline has caused pseudoscorpions (i.e. arachnids that kinda look like scorpions) to suffer from a reduced sperm viability, and that this effect is passed on to the next generation!
The pseudoscorpions treated with the antibiotic had a reduced sperm viability of up to 25 percent, though there was no effect on the body size, sperm number, or female reproduction.
This is the first time we’re seeing antibiotics having an effect that can be passed down to the next generation. It’s scary to think that drugs our parents may have been taking, thinking they were safe, could have an effect on us when they are later discovered to have detrimental effects. Or the drugs we’re taking could affect our children for that matter…
The tetracycline that was used is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that is used in animal production, antimicrobial therapy, and for curing arthropods infected with bacterial endosymbionts. According to the article, six decades of use of this antibiotic have caused widespread bacterial resistance but it is still used today as an additive in animal feed and as an accessible antimicrobial therapy in developing countries.
While we, ourselves, may not be typically affected by this particular antibiotic (unless you’re in a developing country), it still poses the question: how safe are the drugs our doctors giving us, really?