A pregnancy test from the 1960’s might be responsible for the demise of many frog species across the Americas. The African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis), carrier of the lethal amphibian fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, was once an integral part of pregnancy testing. Used into the 1970’s, female Xenopus frogs would ovulate when exposed to urine from pregnant woman. Unfortunately, the frog that became commonplace throughout labs in North America, was a reservoir for the chytrid fungal disease caused by B. dendrobatidis. Originally used as a diagnostic tool, the African clawed frog is now an important lab research animal and a part of the global pet trade. Currently an invasive species in Mediterranean climates throughout the world, as well as Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and 11 states in the U.S., controlling the expansion of this once beneficial animal may be the key to the slowing the pace of amphibian extinctions throughout the Americas.
- Jones, Nicola. "Pregnancy Test Helped to Bring Frog-killing Fungus to the US." Nature.com. Nature Publishing Group, 17 May 2013. Web. 31 Jan. 2015.
- Willigan, Erin. "Introduced Species Summary Project - Xenopus Laevis." Introduced Species Summary Project - Xenopus Laevis. Columbia.edu, 20 Oct. 2001. Web. 29 Jan. 2015
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