Masayuki Sumida and his team at Hiroshima University’s Institute for Amphibian Biology have developed a transparent frog. They say that being able to see past the skin can aid them in disease studies by watching the internal organs and blood vessels without the necessity of dissection. The creatures were created by mating two specimens of Japanese Brown Frogs with the mutation of pale skin. We just hope that the poor amphibians remember to put on their sunscreen before they go for an outside dip in the pond.
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Our planet has about 6,000 species of amphibians that will become about 1/3 to 1/2 of that amount in our lifetime, according to Jeffrey Bonner, the chairman of Amphibian Ark. The U.S. based org is trying to raise $50 million to save them from extinction by declaring 2008 The Year of the Frog. The organization wants to establish 500 rescue facilities in places such as Africa and Latin America, where most of them now reside. Other frogs, toads, newts, salamanders, and caecilians (worm-like amphibians) would be shipped to existing aquariums, zoos, etc.
Plans for promoting the Ark include discussing the plan at the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums in Budapest when it meets this week, booking Kermit the frog to show up at Times Square during the ball dropping ceremony in New York, and naming 2008’s Feb.29 “Leap Frog Day.”
Bonner says four species secrete a substance on their skin that “completely inhibited the transmissions of AIDS — they stopped AIDS cold. We’ve yet to unlock those mysteries. But if we have no more frogs to work with or lose the one species that holds the key, we will have lost something of immeasurable value.”
We have two suggestions right off the bat. Mr. Bonner, shouldn’t you try to save the frogs for the frogs’ sake, even if they have an additional bonus of being helpful in AIDS research? Let’s not forget that amphibians and reptiles are also used as food, so we should all promise to stay away from eating frogs legs and eye of newt potions.
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