Two University of Houston researchers involved in the project -- Professors Amy Sater and Dan Wells -- said the accomplishment involving the frog Xenopus tropicalis will further the study of embryonic development, with implications for preventing birth defects and more effectively treating many human diseases.
Sater said the frog is extremely important for studies of embryonic development and the regulation of cell division since its genes are highly similar to those in mice and humans. Other similarities include the frog's molecular communication pathways that serve as lines of communication between cells and are critical for the maintenance and differentiation of stem cells.
The project, funded by a $2 million National Institutes of Health grant, included scientists from the Human Genome Sequencing Center at the Baylor College of Medicine, the University of California-Berkeley, the Joint Genome Institute, the University of California-Irvine, Washington University School of Medicine, University of Virginia, the University of Evry in France, the National Institute for Medical Research in the United Kingdom and the Okinawa Institute for Science and Technology in Japan.
The research appeared as the cover story in a recent issue of the journal Science.
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