African Clawed Frog

Xenopus laevis

Amphibian larvae undergo a radical transformation from being a fish-like animal, to a land-dwelling form that can live independently of free-standing water. It is, therefore, a near complete metamorphosis of one entity into another. 

Xenopus laevis, commonly referred to as the African clawed frog, is notable for been the first widely used method of human pregnancy testing. In the 1930s, two researchers, Hillel Shapiro and Harry Zwarenstein, at Cape Town University, discovered that the urine from pregnant women would induce oocyte (egg) production in X. laevis within 8–12 hours of injection. This was used as a simple and reliable pregnancy test up through to the 1960s. 


Story contribution:

Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr
Tissue Culture & Art Project
SymbioticA, The Centre for Excellence in Biological Arts
School of Human Sciences + School of Design
The University of Western Australia

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