Aristotle wrote about frogs in 350 B.C.E. The Moche people imbued the frog with mystery in 200 A.D. In the American southwest, the frog is still a sign of fertility and rain. Frogs have given their lives in the name of science, healed people with super strength medicines, and provided clues to the way our earth works. We owe a thank you to our frog friends.
Over 10% of all Nobel Prizes in physiology and science have been earned through the use of the frog. In 2009, the Nobel Prize was awarded for discovering genetic operations of the cell with frogs as research subjects. What people know about cellular biology and gene therapy tomorrow may come from frogs. One of the greatest advances in medicine was the description of the circulatory system by William Harvey. He used frogs to show how our bodies work.
In 1791, Italian physicist and physician, Luigi Galvani, discovered that dead frogs legs cold be reanimated with electrical current. This formed his correct hypothesis that the brain must also send electrically impulses to the muscles and nerves. He later named this galvanism.
Bullfrogs and the African Clawed frog are the most common specimens for dissection in high schools and its for a reason. Frogs are easy to keep in laboratories. Frogs simple body structures make them a great anatomy aid.
Medicinal Qualities of Frogs
Frogs have super skins and researchers have found that these skins produce extra strength antibiotics and painkillers. Over 100 antibiotics derived from frogs were categorized by scientists at the United Aran Emirates University. One particularly important antibiotic may be able to kill the deadly MRSA virus. Antibiotics from frogs have been used through their long history of evolution to help them combat pollutants and disease in the water. Diseases will have to work harder to develop any resistance to frogs antibodies. The researchers are now screening thousands of frogs.
A painkiller 200 times more potent than morphine has been found on the skin of a poison frog from Ecuador. The painkiller does not have side effects like morphine does and is being tested in cancer patients in Europe. The Australian Red-Eyed Tree frog may hold the cure to HIV. A peptide in the glands of the frog has been shown by researchers at Vanderbilt University to block infection of HIV into cells.
What new medical breakthrough will we lose if we lose frogs? Many groups are now dedicated to conserving each unique species. By ensuring the frogs survival we help ourselves survive as well.
Fun Frog Fact:
A: Yes, The first successful cloning of a vertebrate was of the African Clawed frog in 1952.