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XB-ART-53715
J Anat. August 1, 2017; 231 (2): 169-191.

Digital dissection of the model organism Xenopus laevis using contrast-enhanced computed tomography.

Porro LB , Richards CT .


Abstract
The African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, is one of the most widely used model organisms in biological research. However, the most recent anatomical description of X. laevis was produced nearly a century ago. Compared with other anurans, pipid frogs - including X. laevis - exhibit numerous unusual morphological features; thus, anatomical descriptions of more ''typical'' frogs do not detail many aspects of X. laevis skeletal and soft-tissue morphology. The relatively new method of using iodine-based agents to stain soft tissues prior to high-resolution X-ray imaging has several advantages over gross dissection, such as enabling dissection of very small and fragile specimens, and preserving the three-dimensional topology of anatomical structures. Here, we use contrast-enhanced computed tomography to produce a high-resolution three-dimensional digital dissection of a post-metamorphic X. laevis to successfully visualize: skeletal and muscular anatomy; the nervous, respiratory, digestive, excretory and reproductive systems; and the major sense organs. Our digital dissection updates and supplements previous anatomical descriptions of this key model organism, and we present the three-dimensional data as interactive portable document format (PDF) files that are easily accessible and freely available for research and educational purposes. The data presented here hold enormous potential for applications beyond descriptive purposes, particularly for biological researchers using this taxon as a model organism, comparative anatomy and biomechanical modelling.

PubMed ID: 28547827
PMC ID: PMC5522897
Article link: J Anat.



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