The Wise Laboratory of Environmental and Genetic Toxicology


Background | Experimental Studies | References | Collaborators | Funding

Dendrobates azureus
Photo courtesy of Ryan Duffy



 In recent years, there has been a massive decline in the amphibian populations. Many attribute this to one of three concerns (pathogens, climate change, and pollution), or due the overwhelming combination of all three. The overall goal of this project is to determine the damaging effects of heavy metal pollutants on frog cells. Therefore the first step is to establish cell lines for three tissues (lung, skin, and gonad) from six different frog species, (Rana pipiens, Xenopus laevis, Xenopus tropicalis, Rana catesbeiana, Hyla cinerea, and Agalychnis callidryas), with a total of three males and three females for each species. Amphibians are considered to be an environmental marker. Frogs are a species found throughout many parts of the world. Therefore the species that were chosen to start amphibian cell line studies were picked to be from different parts of the globe as well as different areas that they live in nature. 

Experimental Studies

We are currently developing cell lines. Once cell lines are developed we will begin expierments. Cell lines will be developed by harvesting tissues using explants and collaganese digestion protocols, and then immortalized using telomerase. Once cell lines have been established, genotoxic and cytotoxic tests will be done using carcinogenic metals such as chromium compounds. We hope to have a working cell line by summer of 2011.

Cells So Far

We had ciliated lung cells grow for a short period of time, with our first atempt at explanting cells, see the video below:


  1. Sparling, Donald W., Greg Linder, and Christine A. Bishop. Excotoxicoloy of Amphibians and Reptiles. 1st ed. Columbia: Setac.

Collaborators And Cooperators

The Wise Laboratory is assisted in this work by The Baltimore Aquarium and San Diego Zoo and Dr. Jackson Gross of USGS.


We are currently seeking funding for this work.