Pregnancy test link to frog deaths


Experts believe that the use of frogs in pregnancy testing may have helped spread a deadly disease around the world.

According to a report from the BBC, experts are meeting in Washington DC to debate whether the transportation of African Xenopus toads for use in human pregnancy testing is responsible for the spread of a fungal disease.

Researchers at James Cook University in Australia suggested last year that the use of the toads in pregnancy testing in the 1930s might be responsible for the spread of a deadly fungal disease called Batrachochytrium.

\"Unlike the modern pregnancy tests, which turn blue to indicate that a mother is pregnant, the female toad used to ovulate when injected with urine...\"The team found that many specimens of Xenopus laevis dating back to 1938 had signs of Batrachochytrium infection.

The disease, which is known as chytridiomycosis, is now believed to be a major cause for the global decline in amphibians - and Xenopus appear to be a resistant carrier.

How does a frog know if you\'re pregnant?

About 60 or 70 years ago, long before the modern pregnancy test kits we use today had been invented, Xenopus were injected with a small quantity of a woman\'s urine.

Unlike the modern pregnancy tests, which turn blue to indicate that a mother is pregnant, the female toad used to ovulate when injected with urine.

Experts believe that the thousands of Xenopus toads exported from South Africa may have helped spread the fungus when some of the toads hopped-it into the wild.