No need for dissection as see-through frogs jump in

  1. By Miwa Suzuki AFP - Thursday, September 27 07:54 pm
    TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese researchers have succeeded in producing see-through frogs, letting them observe organs, blood vessels and eggs under the skin without performing dissections.

    You can see through the skin how organs grow, how cancer starts and develops," said the lead researcher Masayuki Sumida, professor at the Institute for Amphibian Biology of state-run Hiroshima University.
    "You can watch organs of the same frog over its entire life as you don't have to dissect it. The researcher can also observe how toxins affect bones, livers and other organs at lower costs," he told AFP.
    Dissections have become increasingly controversial in much of the world, particularly in schools where animal rights activists have pressed for humane alternatives such as using computer simulations.
    Sumida said his team, which announced the research last week at an academic conference, had created the first transparent four-legged creature, although some small fish are also see-through.
    The researchers produced the creature from rare mutants of the Japanese brown frog, or Rena japonica, whose backs are usually ochre or brown.
    Two kinds of recessive genes have been known to cause the frog to be pale.
    Sumida's team crossed two frogs with recessive genes through artificial insemination and the offspring looked normal due to the presence of more powerful genes. But crossing the offspring led to a frog whose skin is transparent from the tadpole stage.
    "You can see dramatic changes of organs when tadpoles mutate into frogs," said Sumida, whose team is seeking a patent.
    Such frogs could theoretically exist in the wild but it is "virtually impossible" they would naturally inherit so many recessive genes, Sumida said.
    The transparent frogs can also reproduce, with their offspring inheriting their parents' traits, but their grandchildren die shortly after birth.
    "As they have two sets of recessive genes, something wrong must kick in and kill them," Sumida said.
    While the researchers relied on artificial insemination, they said that genetic engineering could also produce transparent and even illuminating frogs.
    Sumida said researchers could also inject into the transparent frogs an illuminating protein attached to a gene, which would light up the gene once it manifests -- for example, showing at what stage cancer starts.
    Sumida said it would be unrealistic to apply the same method to mammals such as mice as their skin structure is different.

  2. ^^ I think that's great! I understand how some people would be uncomfortable with the idea of dissecting an animal.

    There are computer programs that are supposed to replace dissection, but the point of the exercise is to see where the actual organ is in the actual animal.

    Ideally biology classes should have a transparent frog, and then there could be realistic looking (but not real) rubber frogs with the organs. Then students could take them out and label them.
  3. yeah, but how many frogs did they have to create and destroy before they were able to create the "see through" frog?
  4. That's what I was thinking, it's rather disturbing knowing that they pretty much altered the whole animal. I wish schools would just stick to computer programs or frog models(like how caitlin said, rubber frogs), and not use the real thing, it's not necessary. Luckily, when I was in high school, we never did the frog dissection thing, if we were to, I wouldn't even be present in that classroom.
  5. Good point. I was questioning whether to post this, because I didn't want to upset people over the idea of creating frogs in a laboratory.

    But then I thought, the purpose was of creating the transparant frog was to cut down
    on dissections in biology class.

    (I always hated doing those! I wasn't doing the actual dissection because we were split into groups. I would be taking notes.)
  6. When I suggested the transparent frog, I meant teachers should have a live one in the classroom (or show a video of one) and then as a hands on activity, the students could use the rubber frogs.
  7. I agree it is disturbing. It's totally unnatural. Why can't we just stop the experiments and use a plastic frog or something? like how they have models of the human body that can taken apart to see the inside. Bleh.
  8. You didn't upset me... if feel the same as you do. i'm takine environmental bio. next semester, so i don't have to dissect anything. i wish more schools would offer cruelity free "dissection", ie. computers, models. there is no reason anyone in high school, or college (unless they're going into a bio. or med. program) needs to dissect anything.
  9. Why make all those students, who probably have no idea what they want to do after college, dissect those frogs?

    I was going to say at some point, if someone's going into veterinary medicine, they should practice on the real thing, but I think even there they should have options. (I don't know what exactly those options should BE, but there should be options.)
  10. I just think one should not tamper with mother nature. See through frogs, featherless chickens... what next? These mutations can eventually lead to something more sinister.
  11. So true!!! Plus, for some people and cultures dissecting is against thier morals...
  12. On the other hand, imagine those first year medical students going into anatomy lab to dissect a human having had no frog or cat dissection experience prior.
  13. But if you are in medical school, your only clients will be human patients, not animal patients, so I see it very unnecessary to dissect an animal when you would never be working on them anyway. Btw, do first year med students really dissect a human?!:amazed:
  14. Good point.

    So then, why not use the computer programs through high school and save the dissections for pre-med and pre-vet students?