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How Trematodes Cause Limb Deformities in Amphibians
Journal of Experimental Zoology (2002)
  • Geffrey F. Stopper, Sacred Heart University
  • Louise Hecker
  • R. Adam Franssen
  • Stanley K. Sessions

We used trematode cyst infestation to induce limb deformities in two species of frogs of the genus Rana and compared them to deformities induced by surgical limb bud rotations. The specific deformities produced by both treatments closely resemble those of wild-caught deformed amphibians and are consistent with a known developmental response to disruption of the spatial organization of cells in developing limb buds. Histological analysis showed that trematode cysts cause massive disruption and abnormal cellular growth involving the limb buds of infected individuals. Our results indicate that trematode cyst infestation causes deformities in frogs by perturbation of the positional relationships of cells in developing limb buds. The crippling effects of cyst-infection on frogs may reflect complex co-evolutionary interactions among trematodes, frogs, and other hosts in the trematode's life cycle.

DOI: 10.1002/jez.10173

At the time of publication, Geoffrey Stopper was affiliated with the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

  • frogs,
  • limb deformities,
  • trematode cyst infestation
Publication Date
October 15, 2002
Citation Information
Geffrey F. Stopper, Louise Hecker, R. Adam Franssen and Stanley K. Sessions. "How Trematodes Cause Limb Deformities in Amphibians" Journal of Experimental Zoology Vol. 294 Iss. 3 (2002)
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