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Tech & Science First in-vitro birth of toad near extinction gives scientist hope

13:35  24 november  2019
13:35  24 november  2019 Source:   nydailynews.com

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A critically endangered Puerto Rican toad was for the first time born via in vitro fertilization as U.S. scientists attempt to save it from extinction , officials In this Sept 25, 2019 handout photo provided by the Fort Worth Zoo, Olaf is held by primary Puerto Rican crested toad zoo keeper Kelsey Barron

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A critically endangered Puerto Rican toad was for the first time born via in vitro fertilization as U.S. scientists attempt to save it from extinction , officials announced Friday. Olaf - named in honor of the frozen semen he came from — is the first of more than 300 Puerto Rican

  First in-vitro birth of toad near extinction gives scientist hope © Provided by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Toad-ally cool!

Scientists with the Fort Worth Zoo in Texas are celebrating some very encouraging news about the future of a critically endangered species.

The first Puerto Rican crested toad was born via in-vitro fertilization, officials announced Friday.

Named after the frozen semen it came from, Olaf is the first of over 300 toads that hatched after a first failed attempt, the zoo’s ectotherms curator Diane Barber told The Associated Press.

“We don’t typically name our toads, but that one deserved special recognition,” she said. “We were super, super excited. ... You kind of hold your breath for 30 days to see if they’re going to metamorphose.”

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A critically endangered Puerto Rican toad was for the first time born via in vitro fertilization as U.S. scientists attempt to save it from extinction , officials announced Friday. Olaf - named in honor of the frozen semen he came from — is the first of more than 300 Puerto Rican crested toads that hatched.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A critically endangered Puerto Rican toad was for the first time born via in vitro fertilization as U.S. scientists attempt to save it from extinction , officials announced Friday.Olaf - named in honour of the frozen semen he came from — is the first of more than 300 Puerto Rican.

Believed to be extinct in the past, the Puerto Rican crested toad was rediscovered in the early 1980s. Most of the population, estimated to be anywhere between 300 and 3,000, lives in southern Puerto Rico.

Scientists fear that rising sea levels could threaten their habitat. As they live near the beach, saltwater could invade the ponds that are used for breeding, which can prove to be devastating for the species.

Last year, Barber accompanied a team of scientists — which included scientists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural Resources — to the southwest town of Guayanilla, where they collected semen from six male toads.

Normally, it’s not difficult to extract semen from toads measuring up to 4.5 inches, according to Barber, since they release it in their urine and they pee whenever they are picked up.

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A critically endangered Puerto Rican toad has for the first time been born via in vitro fertilization as U.S. scientists attempt to save it from extinction . In this Sept 25, 2019 handout photo provided by the Fort Worth Zoo, Olaf is held by primary Puerto Rican crested toad zoo keeper Kelsey Barron, at

A critically endangered Puerto Rican toad was for the first time born via in vitro fertilization as U.S. scientists The scientists were careful to select bigger toads that had what are called “nuptial pads” on their thumbs, which The toads live near the beach, and scientists fear that in upcoming years

The Puerto Rican crested toads, however, don’t pee. So the team had to get creative.

“It’s kind of weird, but if you hold them in your hand and look at them and bark at them like a dog, they will pee,” she said.

After the semen was collected, the male toads were released back into the wild. The semen was then transported in liquid nitrogen to the Fort Worth Zoo, where scientists injected two female toads with it.

Armando Otero, interim secretary of Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural Resources, celebrated Olaf’s birth, adding that this was the first time that in-vitro fertilization was used in the decades-long effort to save the species

“This is a significant advance for critically endangered species, as it will allow zoos, researchers and other conservationists to expand their genetic population used to increase the general population while keeping toads in their natural and wild habitat,” he said in a statement.

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