Scientists clone extinct frog that births young from its mouth

by MongaBay staff

Australian scientists have produced cloned embryos of an extinct species of frog known for its strange reproductive behavior, reports the University of New South Wales.

The amphibian, the gastric-brooding frog (Rheobatrachus silus), one of only two species that swallowed its eggs, brooded the young in its stomach, and gave birth through its mouth. But it went extinct in 1983. The closely-related R. vitellinus died out in the wild in in 1985.

However a team of researchers were able to recover cell nuclei from frozen frog tissue collected in the 1970s and implant it into a fresh egg from another frog species, Mixophyes fasciolatus. Some of the eggs then developed into an early embryo stage, although none survived longer than a few days.

The scientists said the process — which has not yet been published — could eventually lead to the resurrection of the extinct species…

(read more: Monga Bay)  

(photos: T - John Wombey/ARKive/Conservation International; ML - Peter Schouten ; MR - Mike Taylor/Conservation International; B - uncreditted)

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