Eugenia M. del Pino

Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador


Election Year: 2006
Primary Section: 22, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Membership Type: Foreign Associate

Research Interests

I am interested in the comparative analysis of frog development. We investigate the development of frogs native to Ecuador, instead of working with the model organism, the frog Xenopus laevis. We analyzed the strategies of reproduction, oogenesis and early development of the marsupial frogs, in particular the marsupial frog Gastrotheca riobambae. The reproductive adaptations of the mother and embryos of G. riobambae differ from frogs with aquatic reproduction and resemble the strategies of the birds and mammals, although some features remain frog-like. The developmental strategies of the dendrobatid frog Colostethus machalilla is also used for comparison. The marsupial frogs carry the embryos inside the body of the female and the dedrobatid frog C. machalilla deposits the eggs on the ground, and the father guards the nest until tadpole hatching, when he transports the tadpoles into the water, instead of the aquatic mode of Xenopus reproduction. Development in both of these frogs occurs more slowly than in Xenopus. We consider that slow development provides a new tool to investigate the flow of morphology and molecular events in early frog development. Our recent work concentrates in the analysis of gastrulation. The comparison of development is done using cytological and molecular techniques.

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