News of the WeekDevelopmental Biology

Frog Is a Prince of a New Model Organism

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Science  02 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5424, pp. 25
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5424.25

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA-- The frog Xenopus laevis is a favorite of developmental biologists because of its large, hardy embryos. But in the age of molecular biology, X. laevis has a major drawback: Somewhere in its evolution, the frog's genome doubled, leaving the animals with four copies of most genes instead of the usual two and complicating genetic studies. Now a frog from the damp floor of the West African rainforest, called Xenopus (Silurana) tropicalis, may provide the best of both worlds to developmental biologists, who crowded into a recent symposium here to learn about it.