Japanese see-through frogs

2 10 2007

See-through frogSee-through tadpoles

After my 3rd mid-term exam for the day, I swiftly hopped onto my laptop to relax a bit before the next war. (Not that the exams all went well, overall they were O.K). Anyway, the moment I got online, my ever resourceful brother IMed me this news about a new scientific breakthrough: See-through frogs.

Yes, literally. According to numerous video reports, the Japanese-bred (yes, its the Japanese again!) frogs have a semi-translucent skin since birth allowing viewers to see the organs form and grow within them. With this breakthrough, researchers and students no longer need to dissect these amphibian creatures to study their organs, addressing concerns brought up by animal rights activists on the ethics of frog dissections in schools.

Another benefit of this breakthrough, as mentioned by lead researcher Masayuki Sumida is how “researchers can now observe how toxins affect bones, livers and other organs at lower costs”. The largest plus point that totally blew my mind though was how these frogs are more “modifiable” than just feeding them something and watching how their bodies react to it.

Believe it or not, you can actually inject “markers” into them or attach it to genes to watch how these genes spread within them. As quoted from this article,

Sumida said researchers could also inject into the transparent frogs an illuminating protein attached to a gene, which would light up the gene once it manifests — for example, showing at what stage cancer starts.

Maybe now we can understand cancer cells better, the way they behave, what ticks them and hopefully very soon, what kills them. However, as many have said, this is limited to observations and experiments on frogs (aka amphibian creatures) that have very different body mechanisms from mamalian animals. Nevertheless, this is a step forward in science which will definitely lead to more breakthroughs be it for diseases, cancers, genetic disorders or who knows, maybe even see-through human beings.

Side note: In case you’re wondering, amphibian skin is very different from mamalian (human) skin and hence, this breakthrough cannot be applied to create “see-through human beings”. Being able to create see-through human beings will definitely be a GIGANTIC leap in answering the many mysteries of the human anatomy but then again, do you want to see a see-through human being? I know I’d be really freaked out if I saw one. Not only that, is it ethical to breed such a human being and have diseases injected into him/her for experimental purposes? We will all then be debating the issue of human experimentation over again.

Seriously, deep down inside I really hope they can create such human-beings to find a faster cure for the various diseases plaguing this world(especially AIDS and cancer) but I get chills thinking about how these noble and miracle human-beings would be living their lives. Who knows, our society may even come to classify them as a new “minority race” specially created for scientific experimentation.

Resources:
No need for dissection as see-through frogs jump in
Video reports from various sources

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4 responses

3 10 2007
Chern Jie

This so-called “breakthrough” doesn’t stop the animal rights activists from complaining, it’s still doing something against nature, and it’s still using animals as experimental devices. Creating a human for this purpose obviously is still out of the question.

3 10 2007
kumar

Animal activists just piss me off. I went to the market last time and I saw the butcher cut the neck of a chicken halfway and hung it down upside down to let the blood empty out. Are birds and cows and lamb not animals? Why is it not ethical to dissect a few frogs or rats for research? If these animal activists are actually serious, they should make it their aim to turn the whole world vegetarian before criticizing researchers.

Talking about the human part though, it would be pretty unethical to do so I guess. It won’t happen any time soon. However, if they can make the skin sumthin like a chameleon’s, then we might be in business. Super spies that can blend into enemy backgrounds? The military would jump on that in a second. Although the soldier would have to be naked all the time, not to mention keep his eyes closed, and also not have a single speck of hair or nails on his body.

3 10 2007
Yuhang

Did you realise that that gene existed once in China due to an anomaly? That guy was name sheng nong (神农). His stomach is translucent one. Because of that, he used to test herbs on himself and he saw the effects of each herb but at the end he ate something call duan chang cao (a kinda herb that is extremely poisonous which is used only to treat skin ailments by using it’s poison to kill off harmful bacteria and viruses). The effect was his intestines were shred into pieces and he died.

5 10 2007
bitbot

@kumar: Actually, the Japanese invented this “invisible” suit which when you wear, you are literally invisible. It works just like the ‘magic cape’ in Harry Potter which makes everything under it invisible.

@Yuhang: Wow! Thanks for sharing. That’s scary and cool at the same time. Scary that he can see his stomach but cool that he actually used it for a good cause. Do you have a link where I can read up more on him? Couldn’t find anything much on the internet.

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