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Laboratory 2: Understanding Fertilization And Early Development In The South African Clawed Frog (Xenopus Laevis)

2054 words - 8 pages

Laboratory 2: Understanding fertilization and early development in the South African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis)IntroductionSimilar to sea urchins, amphibian early development has been studied to a great extent. Amphibians, especially the frog Xenopus, were the first vertebrates to serve as models of development because these organisms use the same processes and genes used by other vertebrates, humans included, to generate body axes and organs. Thus, studies of amphibian growth and development provided the foundation for questions and conclusions that led to the expansion of vertebrate developmental biology. Amphibians are anamniotic vertebrates, meaning they do not form the amnion that permits embryonic development to take place in a dry environment. Therefore, it is thought that, because development occurs in an aqueous environment with only semipermeable membranes separating the embryo from its external surroundings, these embryos are particularly susceptible to potentially negative side effects resulting from pollution or drought. However, even when grown in experimentally manipulated environments, many processes are still able to proceed normally. Still, some manipulations affect processes that are fundamental to normal embryo growth, resulting in adverse effects from short exposures.In this laboratory, we explored two of these conditions: ultraviolet light and lithium chloride exposure. We hypothesize that if embryos are not grown in virtually normal conditions in the lab, then the processes involved in normal embryonic development will be disrupted and result in an abnormal embryo growth. In a developing Xenopus embryo, cytoplasmic rearrangements are crucial to normal axis formation. An interruption of these rearrangements results in ventralization of the embryo, meaning it lacks an obvious dorsal side (Blaustein et. al., 1998). Because previous experiments have shown that exposure to UV-C light can disrupt these movements, we predict that this ventralization will result in embryos treated with UV-C light. Furthermore, we predict that the embryos in the UV-C + Filter treatment will not be as ventralized as the embryos that are treated to ultraviolet light without a filter.During gastrulation the formation of the amphibian dorsal blastopore lip sets the dorsal-ventral axis, which depends on the initiation of the Wnt pathway by glycogen synthase kinase- molecules (Orford et. al., 1997). Many studies have shown that lithium chloride has the ability to inhibit these molecules and thus embryos treated with lithium chloride before the 64-cell stage undergo dorsalization, the opposite of ventralization (Leroy & de Robertis, 1992). Based on this information, we predict that dorsalization will result in embryos washed in lithium chloride, causing abnormalities and perhaps death. Furthermore, because this experiment uses varying concentrations of lithium chloride, we predict that embryos treated with a higher concentration will develop...

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