In October I visited the Hanken lab
at Harvard University to learn how to transplant developing tissues between frogs. The goal was to transplant the tissue that should develop into an outer ear from an 'earless' species that has no outer ear (Bombina orientalis
, the fire bellied toad) to an eared species (Xenopus tropicalis
, the african clawed frog) that normally has an outer ear and see if the earless frog tissue could develop an ear under the right developmental cues.
Eventually if these experiments are done between the eared and earless toads being bred in the Hoke lab we could determine when and why the middle and outer ears stop developing in earless toad species.