De-extinction for the first time – bizarre extinct frog species brought back from the grave

// March 18th, 2013 // General Science News


Rheobatrachus silus, gastric-brooding frog, brought back from extinction

Rheobatrachus silus, the gastric-brooding frog, is different from most other frogs – it gives birth from its mouth, swallowing eggs to hide in its stomach until they’re ready to hatch then spitting out live baby frogs.  Sadly. the frog was last seen in the wild in 1979 and became extinct a few years later.  Luckily, frog researcher Mike Tyler froze specimens of the frog prior to its extinction, leaving the door open for the species’ possible resurrection and this past weekend, we learned that the Lazarus Project has successfully brought one of the baby-spitting amphibians back to life.  i09 explained:

“Scientists extracted DNA from a frozen frog specimen, and employed somatic-cell nuclear transfer, the same process used to clone still-living animals. The team took eggs from the distantly related great barred frog, deactivated that frog’s DNA with UV light, and inserted the gastric-brooding frog’s DNA into the eggs. The cells inside the eggs began dividing, becoming blastulas. The embryos died after a few days, long before developing into tadpoles, but DNA tests confirmed that they were gastric-brooding frog embryos, and Archer says they have high hopes for seeing this frog up and hopping soon.”

In 2009, an extinct Pyrenean ibex, a mountain goat that disappeared at the turn of the century, was successfully cloned (it also died minutes after birth) from DNA from a living Pyrenean ibex but the Rheobatrachus silus frog cloning is the first cloning accomplished from DNA from a extinct, and dead, species.

Sources: io9, The Week, Wikipedia
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