The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Transparent frog makes dissection obsolete

Japanese research team develops transparent frog, making dissection obsolete. Animal rights groups rejoice, but here at Guilford College, students see little cause for celebration; a test frog is as a test frog does.

A Japanese research team at Hiroshima University has developed a breed of transparent frogs. This discovery, which will make dissection obsolete, was made when the team crossbred two pale-skinned variants of the Japanese brown frog, creating a new strain of the animal that remains transparent throughout its life cycle.

According to BBC News, this development has been regarded favorably by animal rights activists, who are pleased that this new generation of lab pets will not have to answer to the same grisly fate as their less transparent forebears.

Others are concerned that this life will not actually be more humane. Transparent or not, a test frog is still a test frog, no matter how you slice it, dice it, or hold it up to a high-powered lamp to examine the effects of draino on its pancreas.

“I’m not exactly in agreement that this is something that any animal rights activist group should get excited about,” said junior Kat Siladi, leader of Forever Green and an avid animal rights supporter. “The fact that scientists have bred a frog for the purpose of experimentation is a violation of animal rights in and of itself.”

“It seems almost more cruel (than dissection),” said junior biology major Becky Pittman. “Not only are these frogs made to be freaks, but they are dying freaks-what dignity is there in that?”

Nonetheless, from a utilitarian standpoint, this discovery will grant researchers an unprecedented, firsthand understanding of the function, growth, and degeneration of the frog’s internal organs.

“You can watch organs of the same frog over its entire life as you don’t have to dissect it. The researcher can also observe how toxins affect bones, livers and other organs at lower costs,” said Professor Masayuki Sumida, lead researcher of the Hiroshima team to the Agence France-Presse.

While Pittman’s sympathies do lie strongly with the frogs, she can’t help but see the benefits that this development presents to researchers like herself, and to younger school children. Now, sixth and seventh graders will be able to learn their basic anatomy, without the blood and guts.

Considering the appeal that this sort of precious experience might have to your younger sister or brother, you might expect to find these transparent toadies in every shopping mall pet shop in the country. As of yet, however, Sumida and his team have no intention of making their discovery available outside of a laboratory setting, and they are currently seeking a patent for it.

Likewise, those interested in procuring a specimen or two must first pay a licensing fee before research rights are granted.

In addition, Sumida and his team plan to inject the frogs with a phosphorescent protein that will illuminate the behavior of their genes, potentially indicating cancerous growth while still in its formative stages.

Thus, while there is much to celebrate in the realm of medical discovery, frog-kind’s solemn slog to scientific martyrdom goes on; their burden is no less, but they must bare much more.

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