Navigation Links
Study rules out inbreeding as cause of amphibian deformities

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Although research has linked inbreeding with elevated rates of deformity in a wide variety of animals, a new study finds it plays no part in the high incidence of malformation among salamanders.

Purdue University researchers recently examined 2,000 adult and juvenile salamanders and found that 8 percent had visible deformities, mainly consisting of missing, extra or dwarfed digits (equivalent to fingers and toes). That is double the rate of malformation found in newts, a related amphibian, but on par and with frequencies seen in many frog species, said assistant professor of forestry and natural resources Rod Williams.

"This is really the first study to test - and disprove - the hypothesis that inbreeding is responsible for malformations in salamanders," said Williams, corresponding author of the study published recently in the journal Biology Letters.

Like many types of amphibians, tiger salamanders return to the same pond throughout their lives to mate. Williams and his former doctoral adviser, lead author Andrew DeWoody, hypothesized that habitat fragmentation or other factors might increase the probability that related salamanders could return to the same spot and mate.

But their study found animals' genetic backgrounds to be unrelated to deformation rates; deformed salamanders were no more inbred than normal individuals. The population proved to be quite diverse, in fact, with roughly twice as much genetic variation as most land animals, DeWoody said.

They calculated relatedness by measuring frequencies of alleles, which are copies or pairs of genes whose ratios are abnormally skewed in inbred individuals.

High rates of amphibian malformation concern scientists not only because they threaten the survival of certain important species, but also because of what they signify about the health of the environment, said DeWoody, an associate professor.

"Amphibians are a good bio-indicator species - real canaries in the coal mine," Williams said.

Amphibians are more heavily impacted by water pollutants because of their semipermeable skin. Many species also begin life in water, where they risk contaminant exposure during their most vulnerable years, Williams said.

The reason for high rates of deformation in salamanders, frogs and other amphibians remains a mystery, DeWoody said. With inbreeding ruled out, however, environmental factors like parasites, ultraviolet radiation and water pollution remain prime suspects, he said.

Williams and DeWoody are actively looking for a cause or causes that may shed light upon high levels of malformation in frogs and other amphibians.

"We've crossed out inbreeding as a possibility, an important step forward," DeWoody said. "But there's a lot of work yet to do."


Contact: Douglas M. Main
Purdue University

Related biology news :

1. Researchers apply systems biology and glycomics to study human inflammatory diseases
2. Study helps clarify role of soil microbes in global warming
3. Franklin Square to study airway bypass procedure for severe emphysema
4. Study may explain exercise-induced fatigue in muscular dystrophies
5. First comprehensive genomic study of common cold reveals new treatment targets
6. New study shows drinking your vegetables may be a solution to bridging the vegetable gap
7. New Study Reveals the Emotional Impact and Effectiveness of Negative Campaigning
8. Study: Elderly Women can increase strength but still risk falls
9. Greenhouse gas auction revenues can help cut Md. electric use significantly, says study
10. The Marine Mammal Center begins new leptospirosis study in California
11. UCSB study finds physical strength, fighting ability revealed in human faces
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Study rules out inbreeding as cause of amphibian deformities
(Date:11/17/2015)... , November 17, 2015 ... au 19 novembre  2015.  --> Paris ... --> DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation biométrique, ... la fois passeports et empreintes sur la même surface ... les passeports et l,autre pour les empreintes digitales. Désormais, ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... 12, 2015  A golden retriever that stayed healthy ... (DMD) has provided a new lead for treating this ... Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the University ... Cell, pinpoints a protective gene ... disease,s effects. The Boston Children,s lab of Lou ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... , Nov. 10, 2015  In ... on the basis of product, type, application, ... included in this report are consumables, services, ... report are safety biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, and ... this report are diagnostics development, drug discovery ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 26, 2015 --> ... 2016 - 2020 report analyzes that automating biobanking ... quality in long-term samples, minimizing manual errors, improving ... minimizes manual errors such as mislabeling or inaccurate ... it plays a vital role in blood fractionation, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 2 ... première fois les différences entre les souches bactériennes ... celles des êtres humains . Ces recherches ... et envisager la prise en charge efficace de ... diagnostiqués chez les chats .    --> ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... HOLLISTON, Mass. , Nov. 25, 2015 ... a biotechnology company developing bioengineered organ implants for life-threatening ... will present at the LD Micro "Main Event" investor ... PT. The presentation will be webcast live and posted ... also be available at the conference for one-on-one meetings ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... QUEBEC CITY , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... "Company"), affirms that its business and prospects remain ... , Zoptrex™ (zoptarelin doxorubicin) recently received DSMB ... program to completion following review of the final ... met Phase 2 Primary Endpoint in men with ...
Breaking Biology Technology: