Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Glowing Frogs and Other Cool Ways to Detect Pollution
Tadpoles that glow when they encounter pollution? Could it be?
It seems so.
Research conducted by University of Wyoming Professor Paul Johnson and others was recently published in the journal, Environmental Science & Technology, and highlighted the case of the African clawed frog, or more accurately its tadpoles, which can be genetically modified using the genes from jellyfish so that they glow. Not all the time of course (even tadpoles have to sleep, I think). But scientists have demonstrated that these modified tadpoles can "light up" in response to a pollutant, and can even discriminate between several chemicals at the same time.
More information can be found on the University of Wyoming web site. The article is available at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es9008954?journalCode=esthag (subscription required).
Johnson hopes that this technique can be used in the detection of pollutants in the environment.