Out of Africa - Frogs in Decline
The joy of knowing that you are pregnant and that your genetic material will live on in your newborn baby is an emotion to be shared and celebrated. In the late 1920?s it was discovered that if urine from a pregnant woman was injected subcutaneously into a female clawed frog, the frog will spawn. This developed into the first commercial pregnancy test and from the early 1930?s until the early 1960?s, large numbers of clawed frogs were exported from South Africa to various destinations worldwide for this purpose. In recent times frogs from every continent around the world have suffered from unexplained high death rates, resulting in various species undergoing severe population reductions and pushing others to the brink of extinction. Could it be that this pregnancy test was also responsible for the global decline of amphibians? Herpetologists from South Africa believe they might have found the answer. Join Professor Louis du Preez and Marius Burger as they investigate what they believe is the reason for the decline of amphibians, and whether the use of the clawed frog in pregnancy tests may have contributed to the spread of the Chytridiomycosis disease; a disease that has been identified as the most likely cause of massive frog population decline around the world.