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Xenopus laevis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Pipidae
Subfamily: Xenopodinae
Genus: Xenopus
Wagler, 1827

Xenopus amieti (volcano clawed frog)
Xenopus andrei (Andre's clawed frog)
Xenopus borealis (Kenyan clawed frog)
Xenopus boumbaensis (Mawa clawed frog)
Xenopus clivii (Eritrea clawed frog)
Xenopus fraseri (Fraser's clawed frog)
Xenopus gilli (Cape clawed frog)
Xenopus laevis (African clawed frog)
Xenopus largeni
Xenopus longipes (savannah clawed frog)
Xenopus muelleri (Muller's clawed frog)
Xenopus pygmaeus (Bouchia clawed frog)
Xenopus ruwenzoriensis (Uganda clawed frog)
Xenopus tropicalis (Western clawed frog)
Xenopus vestitus (Kivu clawed frog)
Xenopus wittei (Witte's clawed frog)

Xenopus (L., strange foot) are a genus of carnivorous frog native to Africa. There are 15 species in the Xenopus genus, all aquatic with unwebbed fingers and fully webbed feet, with claws on three toes.[1] The best-known species belonging to this genus is Xenopus laevis, which is commonly studied as a model organism.

Xenopus research models

Xenopus are a popular model system for gene and protein expression and knockdown studies. At 1 mm diameter, Xenopus oocytes are very large cells which are easy for scientists to culture and use in experiments. RNA from other organisms can be injected into the large oocytes and the resulting expression studied via molecular biology techniques or through electrophysiology experimentation. Gene expression can be knocked down or splicing modified using Morpholino antisense oligos injected into Xenopus oocytes (for whole-body effects) or early embryos (for effects in the daughter cells descended from the injected cell). Cytoplasmic extracts made by centrifuging Xenopus eggs or embryos (allowing direct addition or depletion of proteins) can recapitulate a wide range of complex cellular processes including nuclear envelope formation, DNA replication and spindle assembly.

While Xenopus laevis is the most commonly used species for developmental biology studies, genetic studies can be complicated by their pseudotetraploid genome. Xenopus tropicalis provides a simpler model for genetic studies, having a diploid genome. Morpholino knockdown techniques are also used in X. tropicalis to probe the function of a protein by observing the results of eliminating the protein's activity, as was done in a screen [2] [3] of X. tropicalis genes published in 2006.

X. laevis is often used as a low-tech pregnancy test; for details, see the species account.


X. laevis and other species of Xenopus are kept as pets in the United States, though some Western US states have outlawed this practice due to Xenopus frogs released into the wild threatening local frog species.[citation needed]


External links

  • Xenbase ~ A Xenopus laevis and tropicalis Web Resource