What is it about?

UV radiation can cause tissue damage and genetic mutations. Amphibians are especially susceptible to UV damage as they have no external skin covering such as the hair, scales, or feathers of other vertebrates. UV radiation is highest at high elevations, where there is less atmospheric blockage of UV. In this paper, we examined the morphological, physiological, and genetic mechanisms that the world' highest-elevation frog (from the Tibetan Plateau) uses to protect itself against damage from UV radiation. This study clarifies some of the ways that animals can protect themselves against UV radiation damage.

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Why is it important?

Many of the genes that are involved in UV protection in frogs are also found in other vertebrates, including humans. Understanding UV protection in high-elevation frogs tells us which genes are likely to be involved UV protection in other species.


This is work conducted at the Kunming Institute of Zoology. I was fortunate to be a visiting researcher there and work with Fu Ting-Ting, Che Jing, and others in the lab there on this project. Seeing Nanorana in the field was a highlight for me.

David Hillis Hillis
University of Texas at Austin

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The highest-elevation frog provides insights into mechanisms and evolution of defenses against high UV radiation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, November 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2212406119.
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