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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Assessment of the risk of solar ultraviolet radiation to amphibians. I. Dose-dependent induction of hindlimb malformations in the northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens).

A number of environmental stressors have been hypothesized as responsible for recent increases in limb malformations in several species of North American amphibians. The purpose of this study was to generate dose-response data suitable for assessing the potential role of solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation in causing limb malformations in a species in which this phenomenon seemingly is particularly prevalent, the northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens). Frogs were exposed from early embryonic stages through complete metamorphosis to varying natural sunlight regimes, including unaltered (100%) sunlight, sunlight subjected to neutral density filtration to achieve relative intensities of 85%, 75%, 65%, 50%, and 25% of unaltered sunlight, and sunlight filtered with glass or acrylamide to attenuate, respectively, the UVB (290-320 nm) and UVB plus UVA (290-380 nm) portions of the spectrum. The experiments were conducted in a controlled setting, with continual monitoring of UVB, UVA, and visible light to support a robust exposure assessment. Full sunlight caused approximately 50% mortality of the frogs during early larval development; no significant treatment-related mortality occurred under any of the other exposure regimes, including 100% sunlight with glass or acrylamide filtration. There was a dose-dependent (p < 0.0001) induction of hindlimb malformations in the frogs, with the percentage of affected animals ranging from about 97% under unaltered sunlight to 0% in the 25% neutral density treatment. Malformations were comprised mostly of missing or truncated digits, and generally were bilateral as well as symmetrical. Filtration of sunlight with either glass or acrylamide both significantly reduced the incidence of malformed limbs. The estimated sunlight dose resulting in a 50% limb malformation rate (ED50) was 63.5%. The limb ED50 values based on measured sunlight intensities corresponded to average daily doses of 4.5 and 100 Wh x m(-2) for UVB and UVA, respectively. Exposure to sunlight also resulted in increased eye malformations in R. pipiens, however, the dose-response relationship for this endpoint was not monotonic. The results of this study, in conjunction with measured or predicted exposure data from natural settings, provide a basis for quantitative prediction of the risk of solar UV radiation to amphibians.[1]


  1. Assessment of the risk of solar ultraviolet radiation to amphibians. I. Dose-dependent induction of hindlimb malformations in the northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens). Ankley, G.T., Diamond, S.A., Tietge, J.E., Holcombe, G.W., Jensen, K.M., Defoe, D.L., Peterson, R. Environ. Sci. Technol. (2002) [Pubmed]
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