Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What gives frogs a face? Zoologists clarify role of FOXN3 gene in development of clawed frog

Date:
January 13, 2011
Source:
Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena
Summary:
Zoologists in Germany have analyzed the central factor for the development of morphologically distinctive features of tadpoles. The researchers were able to show that it is mostly the FOXN3 gene that influences the development of the cartilages in the oral region and the gills. These structures in particular belong to the evolutionary new developments typical of frogs.

Specimen of the South African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis), that zoologists at Jena University are doing research on.
Credit: Jan-Peter Kasper/University Jena

Frogs are real winners -- at least from the point of view of evolutionary biology. Nearly 6,000 species are known today.

Related Articles


"In terms of numbers, frogs are superior to all the other amphibians, and even mammals," says Professor Dr. Lennart Olsson from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany). Professor Olsson's research group for Systematic Zoology examines these animals's special secret of success. "We are interested in how the frogs developed in such a great variety and which evolutionary new development is responsible for making frogs so particularly successful," Jennifer Schmidt from Olsson's team explains.

Their evolutionary success is literally written all over the frogs' faces: Certain forms of cartilage and bone structures in the region of the head of the tadpoles are among the frogs' "innovations." These structures only to be found in frogs appear in the oral region. They enable the tadpoles -- of the South African claw frog (Xenopus laevis) -- particularly well to chip vegetarian food from the soil and from stones or to filter it from the water.

In their latest study, which has been published in the Journal of Anatomy, together with colleagues from Ulm Jennifer Schmidt analysed the central factor for the development of these morphologically distinctive features of the tadpoles. It is well known from earlier analyses that the gene FOXN3 plays a key role in the embryonal development of the heads of claw frogs. "It is responsible for the normal development of cartilages, bones and muscles," Jennifer Schmidt explains.

In the newly published study, the 25-year-old doctoral candidate and scholar of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung analyzed larvae of the claw frog after the FOXN3 gene had been turned off. Then she compared them with untreated larvae.

"Our analyses with microCT show that the larvae without an intact FOXN3 gene are developing normally up to a certain time." But then the development slows down, says Jennifer Schmidt. "On the whole these animals grow more slowly."

Most of all the cartilages, the bones and muscles don't develop properly. Deformations and loss of functions occur. However not all cartilages and muscles are affected by the turned-off gene. "We were able to show that FOXN3 most of all influences the development of the cartilages in the oral region and the gills," Professor Olsson points out. These structures in particular belong to the evolutionary new developments typical of frogs, which are missing in other amphibians.

Jennifer Schmidt would like to continue her analyses in her thesis. "We are going to compare the embryonal development of the claw frogs with those of other amphibians," the zoologist says. It would be interesting to find out to what extent the genetic control of those new developments changed in the course of the evolution.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jennifer Schmidt, Maximilian Schuff, Lennart Olsson. A role for FoxN3 in the development of cranial cartilages and muscles in Xenopus laevis (Amphibia: Anura: Pipidae) with special emphasis on the novel rostral cartilages. Journal of Anatomy, 2011; 218 (2): 226 DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2010.01315.x

Cite This Page:

Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena. "What gives frogs a face? Zoologists clarify role of FOXN3 gene in development of clawed frog." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113101659.htm>.
Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena. (2011, January 13). What gives frogs a face? Zoologists clarify role of FOXN3 gene in development of clawed frog. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113101659.htm
Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena. "What gives frogs a face? Zoologists clarify role of FOXN3 gene in development of clawed frog." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113101659.htm (accessed April 19, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Un-Bee-Lievable: Bees on the Loose After Washington Truck Crash

Un-Bee-Lievable: Bees on the Loose After Washington Truck Crash

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 17, 2015) A truck carrying honey bees overturns near Lynnwood, Washington, spreading boxes of live bees across the highway. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dog Flu Spreading in Midwestern States

Dog Flu Spreading in Midwestern States

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Dog flu is spreading in several Midwestern states. Dog daycare centers and veterinary offices are taking precautions. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Rare Whale Spotted in Gulf of Mexico

Raw: Rare Whale Spotted in Gulf of Mexico

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers from the E/V Nautilus had quite a surprise Tuesday, when a curious sperm whale swam around their remotely operated vehicle in the Gulf of Mexico. Cameras captured the encounter. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins