How a pregnancy test for humans caused a wave of global extinctions
By Joseph Bennington-Castro | io9.com
The deadly fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been wiping out amphibian species across the globe for decades. But how did this global environmental disaster get started? A new study suggests that it came from doctors importing frogs for use in pregnancy tests.
Since the 1980s, amphibian species have experienced a sharp decline in their numbers. Some estimates suggest that 400 or more amphibian species have gone extinct or near extinct since the die-offs began. Scientists eventually pinpointed the major cause of the devastation: chytridiomycosis, a disease brought on by an infection by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd.
When Bd fins its away into an amphibian, it severely thickens the animal’s skin, disrupting its ability to breathe and take in nutrients. Some species have a 100 percent mortality rate — but others survive the infection, seemingly unaffected by the fungus.
One Bd-resistant species is the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis). About a decade ago scientists suspected that this particular species may have served as a carrier, and facilitated the spread of chytridiomycosis, when they found Bd in a museum specimen dating back to 1934.
And now, a new analysis now links the spread of the fungus in the U.S. with the spread of X. laevis, which initially began in the early 1900s. You see, at this time people were importing large numbers of the amphibian for use in research and to use as pets. Doctors eventually discovered that the African clawed frog could also be used as a pregnancy test, further increasing the number of frogs imported.
The pregnancy test worked by injecting a woman’s urine under the skin of a female frog. If the woman was actually pregnant, her hormones would stimulate ovulation in the frog. In the 1960s, doctors phased out this practice for more reliable pregnancy tests based on hormonal readings, and many of the test frogs were probably released in the wild. Though these frogs are no longer being imported for pregnancy tests, they are still used in research.
Read the full article at: io9.com
Frog That Gives Birth Through Mouth to be Brought Back From Extinction
Worlds Cutest Frog - Desert Rain Frog
Common pesticides ’can kill frogs within an hour’
Killer frog virus sweeps Britain wiping out hundreds of thousands of amphibians
Frogs found whose toes morph into claws
Latest News from our Front Page
Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North.
The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night.
A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked.
The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough.
Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield.
Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants
Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July.
The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are.
London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race.
Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event.
|More News » |