Valuable Research Frog to Get Home Base

BOSTON, Sept. 6 (UPI) — An African frog prized by researchers of everything from birth defects to organ regeneration will get a new national home base, U.S. scientists say.

The South African frog, Xenopus laevis, will take up residence at a $3.4 million Xenopus center at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., The Boston Globe reported Monday.

Xenopus first became known to medicine in the 1940s, when hospitals worldwide used it in pregnancy tests.

The amphibian is far more prized now as a lab subject, used to study fundamental questions about embryo development.

Xenopus has the unusual ability to regrow the lens of its eye, holding the promise of helping humans regrow organs some day.

“This is a major model for regenerative biology,” Joshua Hamilton, MBL chief academic and scientific officer, said. “The fact is, humans don’t regenerate, and neither do mice and rats. But we do know these earlier or simpler forms of life can. The aspiration is if we can learn how these animals do this, we should be able to translate that to humans.”

Scientists who study Xenopus say they are pleased there will now be a place that stocks the frogs.

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