News of the WeekDEFORMED FROGS

Link to Parasites Grows Stronger

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Science  24 Dec 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5449, pp. 2434
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5449.2434a

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PHILADELPHIA-- As scientists labor to unmask the villain behind a rash of frog deformities across the United States, a suspicious character previously linked to this odd crime in California has now turned up in misshapen amphibians throughout the Northwest. The suspect--a parasitic flatworm, or trematode--has also been found in the Minnesota pond where the discovery of scores of frogs with twisted, missing, or extra legs touched off a hunt for the perpetrator. But abnormal frogs from some ponds still test negative for the parasite, sustaining the notion that chemicals or high doses of ultraviolet light might also be messing with frog development.