About this Research Topic
Research into human development depends on the use of animal model systems which share many of the same developmental pathways as Homo sapiens. Two species of clawed frog, Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis, have become pillars of modern biological research and are extensively used for developmental biology, cell biology, genetics, physiology, biochemistry, toxicology, and small molecule screens.
Historically, Xenopus laevis has been used due to its numerous experimental advantages, including short generation time, large clutch sizes, robust and manipulable embryos, and low cost. Its large oocytes and embryos are also well suited to biochemical and cell biological studies, both cell-free and in vivo. Thus, insights from X. laevis have led to multiple Nobel Prizes in Medicine and Chemistry, ranging from topics such as cell cycle regulation and ion channels to the fundamentals of stem cell biology.
In the past decade, the establishment of X. tropicalis, a diploid species, as a laboratory model has added powerful genetic tools. Together, X. laevis and X. tropicalis now allow us to rapidly investigate fundamental biological processes both in vivo and in vitro. This makes Xenopus an ideal system in the modern genomic era, where we are in dire need of efficient in vivo models suitable for testing human disease gene function.
Therefore, the focus of this Research Topic is to highlight the versatility and utility of Xenopus as a model system, with a focus on improving our understanding of human congenital anomalies, disease and pathology.
Keywords: Xenopus, development, organogenesis, birth defect, disease, cell biology
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