How a pregnancy test for humans caused a wave of global extinctions
2013-05-17 0:00

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



Related Articles
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

Carl Jung talks about staying close to your roots
2015-04-19 23:26
Carl Jung talks about biological truth and about the necessity of staying close to your roots. "A man is not complete when he lives in a world of the statistical truth. He must live in a world of his biological truth. Man has always lived in the myth and we think we are able to be born today and to live ...
'What is Golden Dawn?' - Andreas Giallourides
2015-04-19 18:52
YouTube description: "We must not be ashamed of what we are.." Andreas Giallourides is an accredited Parliamentary Assistant in the European Parliament for Popular Association Golden Dawn. Here he refutes the controlled media dogma associated with Golden Dawn, and outlines their founding principles, current activism and future goals. The London Forum is extremely glad to have Andreas speak to us and ...
Galaxy Poll: 86 per cent of Australians want childhood vaccination to be compulsory?
2015-04-17 23:33
Australians want Prime Minister Tony Abbott to make childhood vaccination compulsory and close loopholes that allow vaccine refusers to put all children at risk. An exclusive national Galaxy poll commissioned by The Sunday Telegraph has revealed overwhelming support to ensure every child is vaccinated. The highest support for compulsory jabs is in South Australia, where 90 per cent support the call. The poll ...
Eye in the sky: Local police now using drones to spy on citizens
2015-04-17 22:09
The Harris County Precinct 1 Constable's Office is doing something that no other agency in Harris County is believed to have done yet: Use drones to help fight crime. It's an eye in the sky for law enforcement, without giving up the element of surprise. "It could absolutely save lives," says Constable Alan Rosen. Rosen says the agency's two new $1,200 drones, which ...
New Zealander of the Year: refuse vaccines, lose money
2015-04-17 22:47
Following in the footsteps of Australia, 2014 New Zealander of the Year, Dr. Lance O’Sullivan, wants to punish people who don’t get vaccinated. The New Zealand Herald (4/15) reports: “A leading New Zealand doctor has called on the Government to follow Australia’s example to cut child welfare payments to families who do not vaccinate their children, saying the policy would help protect ...
More News »