Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Inventions of the Evolution: What gives Frogs a Face

13.01.2011
Zoologists of the University Jena clarify the role of the gene FOXN3 for the development of the clawed frog

“Don't be a frog!“ people say in jest when someone hesitates instead of acting straight away. However to be called a frog should actually be a reason to strengthen one's self-confidence. After all frogs are real winners – at least from the point of view of evolutionary biology: Nearly 6.000 species are known today.


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

“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 science magazine “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 analysed larvae of the claw frog after the “FOXN3“-gene had been cut 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 cut-off gene. “We were able to show that the ‘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.

Original Publication:
Schmidt J, Schuff M, Olsson L: 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. J Anat. 2010. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2010.01315.x.
Contact Details:
Jennifer Schmidt / Professor Dr. Lennart Olsson
Institute for Systematic Zoology and Evolutionary Biology with Phyletic Museum
Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Erbertstr. 1
D-07743 Jena
Phone: ++49 (0)3641 / 949165 or 949160
Email: jennifer.schmidt[at]uni-jena.de / lennart.olsson[at]uni-jena.de

Ute Schönfelder | Uni Jena
Further information:
http://www.uni-jena.de/en/start_en.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>