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New findings on immune system in amphibians
Date:6/19/2008

e UFZ in Halle/Saale that was financed by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. "Until now, scientists have assumed that the MHC in amphibians is not particularly important. But this is definitely not the case," explains Dr Walter Durka of the UFZ, who supervised Wiesaw Babik during his post-doctoral research.

In an earlier DNA study, the researchers were able to show that over the past 10,000 years the Polish populations of the Alpine newt on the northern boundary of its distribution range have achieved a high level of genetic diversity comparatively quickly. The three isolated populations in the Sudetes, Carpathian and witokrzyskie Mountains probably evolved from a single refugium in which the newts survived the last Ice Age.

Alpine newts are primarily found in wooded hilly and mountainous areas of Central Europe up to altitudes of 2500 metres. There are also subspecies in Spain, Italy and on the Balkan peninsula. For reproduction, the species relies on small bodies of water, where the females lay their eggs after mating and where the newt larvae later develop. Following metamorphosis, the adult newts leave the water and overwinter under tree roots or stones. Alpine newts can live to an age of 20 years. A particular feature of the Alpine newt - the smallest native newt, measuring no more than 11 cm - is the number of its toes. Like all tailed amphibians, the back limbs usually have five toes, while the front limbs have four.


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Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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