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"Japanese To Patent Transparent Frog":

So reports The Register (U.K.). "The scientists reckon this will make biological research -- not to mention school biology lessons -- signifcantly less messy and traumatic, as it will no longer be necessary to cut the slime-filled creatures up in order to examine their innards."

By the way, while some frogs' skin might feel slimier than ours, aren't we all "slime-filled"?

Thanks to Michael Barclay for the pointer.

Cornellian (mail):
Re birth of Eden Bernstein, why are comments turned off? I wanted to ask when we'll be seeing pictures here on VC and to ask about that "Hebrew name" thing. Is it the case that Jewish people have a Hebrew name in addition to their regular, everyday name? That's what the post implies, but I had never heard of this.
4.29.2008 9:34pm
Gaius Marius:
Cool! We can also see what is going on inside the frog when it is being boiled.
4.29.2008 9:38pm
35WD (mail):
Interesting that they are bothering with patent protection. I have a number of nursery clients that are hesitant to do business with the Japanese because they pay no heed to patent protected plant species. They purchase patented scion stock and ship it home. They then propogate the patented species and never seem to find their check book to pay royalties. As a matter of fact, this is a problem pervasive in the Orient. Don't know why that striuck me as worth mentioning.
4.29.2008 9:43pm
jccamp:
Is there an application for political candidates?
4.29.2008 10:00pm
Hoosier:
The first post has me confused. Did Japanese scientists engineer transparent Jews? Or am I getting mixed-up again? (ADHD can be a harsh mistress.)

I'm an avid amateur herpetologist. I know what's inside a frog, and have dissected them myself. And yet even with that background—ICKY!

Kermit sings: "It's not easy being clear"(?)
4.29.2008 10:36pm
JoshL (mail):

Re birth of Eden Bernstein, why are comments turned off? I wanted to ask when we'll be seeing pictures here on VC and to ask about that "Hebrew name" thing. Is it the case that Jewish people have a Hebrew name in addition to their regular, everyday name? That's what the post implies, but I had never heard of this.


There's no specific reason for them to be different- DB could, after all, have chosen to call her "Shulamit" in both languages. Or given her a name that is similar in both Hebrew and English (Sarah, for example, which in English has the first "a" sounding like "air" but in Hebrew has the first "a" sounding like "car"). But generally yes, there is some sort of Hebrew name, or occasionally a Yiddish one, whether it is the same or different. The one DB and his wife chose is rather unusual, actually; Shulamit is a purely Hebrew name and wouldn't be unusual as an Israeli's name, while Fayga is Yiddish and is therefore much more rare these days.
4.29.2008 10:40pm
Anonymouseducator:
Congratulations to the Bernsteins. What a blessing!
4.29.2008 10:44pm
Q the Enchanter (mail) (www):
Expect the following cartoon in the New Yorker: Transparent frog being displayed in a high school biology classroom, gawked at by students. He laments, "They see right through me."
4.29.2008 10:49pm
theobromophile (www):
Will they still kill the frogs before presenting them to seventh-graders for research, or will they (in deference to the "no animals for science" folks) keep the froggies alive? If one need not slice them open, what is the need to kill them, aside from the obvious concern about putting live, hopping animals in the hands of middle-schoolers?
4.29.2008 10:51pm
rarango (mail):
My most sincere and heartfelt congratulations to the
Bernsteins.
4.29.2008 11:11pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Congrats, and hope the sleep deprivation ends soon.
4.30.2008 1:42am
Tom Tildrum:
EV: "aren't we all 'slime-filled'?"

Well, not everyone reading this blog is a lawyer....
4.30.2008 8:25am
Nick P.:
I doubt we are going to see live transparent frogs in U.S. biology classrooms any time soon. The frog is a mutant form of Rana japonica, a species that would probably be right at home in much of the U.S. Given it's potential as an invasive species, I suspect the government will not be too thrilled about importing thousands of them and distributing them to children all over the country.

The claim that it would be a useful subsititute for classroom dissection also sounds bogus. The viscera are packed in fairly tightly, so to get a good look at particular organs, other organs must be removed first. It may useful in a research lab to monitor particular tissues that are visible in the live animal, but not for a classroom survey of all organ species.
4.30.2008 9:37am
corneille1640 (mail):
Slightly off topic, but also slightly on topic: it seems to me that animal dissection of any kind is pretty much unnecessary at the high school level or even for biology courses at the freshman level at university. As one advances in studying the biological sciences (or as one goes on to vet school or med school), then perhaps it is necessary. But I fail to see high school students should have to dissect animals.
4.30.2008 10:18am
LarryA (mail) (www):
it seems to me that animal dissection of any kind is pretty much unnecessary at the high school level or even for biology courses at the freshman level at university.
Jeez. The one thing nerds excel at, and you want to excise it from the curriculum.
4.30.2008 10:39am
John Burgess (mail) (www):
And I fail to see why high school students should not have to dissect animals. Guess our opinions differ, huh?

I know I learned more about anatomy and biology in general through dissection classes in HS than I learned from texts or film-strips (okay, I'm ancient). Worms, clams, crawfish, frogs, cats, pig embryos. All extremely interesting; all extremely useful in teaching the biological interrelatedness of animal life.

Perhaps this can be virtualized now, but the visceral (pun intended) knowledge gained by actually doing the dissection was irreplaceable.
4.30.2008 10:42am
corneille1640 (mail):
Dear John Burgess:

I think I see your point, and yes, I must concede much is learned through dissection that cannot be learned through textbooks or film-strips. I'm sure exactly how useful the knowledge is for someone at the high school level.

I must be upfront about my own biases here: I have moral qualms about killing animals for research purposes when such research has little likelihood of resulting in any medical advancements or training prospective veterinarians, doctors, teachers. To me, it seems that high-school level dissection may indeed, as you point out, demonstrate the biological interrelatedness of animal life and may indeed inspire other students to learn more. But is that worth the cost of killing animal life? My answer is no, and I assume your answer is yes.

(For the record, yes, I'm a hypocrite: I'm not a vegetarian; I probably use unnecessary household products that have been tested on animals; and I strongly suspect that much of the meat I eat comes from factory farms.)
5.1.2008 12:13am