The emergence of mutant frogs with extra arms and legs may smack of a low-budget sci-fi script. But it is a reality, and a new study provides more evidence that ultraviolet radiation could be responsible. The findings are reported in three consecutive papers in the July 1 print issue of Environmental Science & Technology, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the worlds largest scientific society.
Concern has been mounting for years over the depletion of the ozone layer — the atmospheric shield that helps block harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the Earths surface. At the same time amphibian populations have been declining, and many have been turning up with unusual malformations, such as missing or extra limbs.
A number of causes have been suggested to explain the malformations, including exposure to chemicals and parasites. Only recently have researchers been examining the potential connection to UV radiation to determine if it is coincidence or something more.
Beverly Hassell | EurekAlert!
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