Friday, June 19, 2009

plus or minus?

My dad and I were talking to my grandma (his mom) today about strange pets that she had when growing up, and she mentioned a frog they had, that had been discarded after being used for pregnancy tests. Oh, yeah, of course we use frogs for pregnancy tests...wait, what?! I had to look it up.

Here's a relatively recent article, it describes both the procedure for using frogs to test for pregnancy,

In the 1930s and 40s, live female Xenopus frogs were used widely in Europe, Australasia and north America in pregnancy testing.
More than 1,800 amphibian species are now judged to be at risk of extinction
A sample of the woman's urine was injected under the frog's skin; if the woman was pregnant, a hormone in her urine caused the frog to ovulate.
Alternative tests involved male frogs and toads, which produced sperm in response to the human hormone gonadotrophin.

as well as some deleterious effects of importing these frogs.

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