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 October 30, 2014 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 October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) The Galapagos tortoise has made a stupendous recovery from the brink of extinction to a population of more than 1,000. But it still faces threats. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oatmeal Healthy Recipes and Benefits

Oatmeal Healthy Recipes and Benefits

Buzz60 (Oct. 29, 2014) Oatmeal is a fantastic way to start your day. Whichever way you prepare them, oats provide your body with many health benefits. In celebration of National Oatmeal Day, Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has a few recipe ideas, and tips on how to kickstart your day with this wholesome snack! Video provided by Buzz60
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