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Science

Scientists Transplant Functional Eyes On the Tails of Tadpoles 85

Posted by samzenpus
from the because-they-can dept.
New submitter physlord writes in with a story about tadpoles with eyes on their tails. "Using embryos from the African clawed frog (Xenopus), scientists at Tufts' Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology were able to transplant eye primordia—basically, the little nubs of flesh that will eventually grow into an eye—from one tadpole's head to another's posterior, flank, or tail....Amazingly, a statistically significant portion of the transplanted one-eyes could not only detect LED changes, but they showed learning behavior when confronted with electric shock."
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Scientists Transplant Functional Eyes On the Tails of Tadpoles

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  • Well Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by p0p0 (1841106) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @04:29PM (#43063467)
    "they showed learning behavior when confronted with electric shock." You shock anyone's little nub's of flesh enough and they tell you anything you want to hear.
    • Re:Well Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Solandri (704621) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @06:44PM (#43064029)

      "they showed learning behavior when confronted with electric shock." You shock anyone's little nub's of flesh enough and they tell you anything you want to hear.

      If you (gasp!) read TFA, they used controls with no eyes, and with regular eyes. Those with the implanted eye (the two regular eyes were removed) did significantly better at avoiding the shock than the no-eye control. Though they didn't say how much better, which makes me suspect the difference was very small (albeit statistically significant).

      The more interesting thing to me was that tadpoles without eyes could still sense when an LED was turned on.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        look man, fuck the results.

        they got to first surgically remove the eyes, then to graft them on some creatures bum and then they got to electrocute them! who needs results when you have a job like that??

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Well that sounds useful.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Science isn't about "why?", it's about "why not?" - Cave Johnson, beacon to us all.
    • If it leads to enough understanding that we successfully regenerate damaged nerves in the human body then it could be one of the most useful pieces of science ever done. Imagine eventually being able to cure things like blindness, paralysis and disorders of the nervous system like Parkinson's!

      Sounds pretty darned useful to me.

  • could be very useful.

    • Be afraid... "Amazingly, a statistically significant portion of the transplanted one-eyes could not only detect LED changes, but they showed learning behavior when confronted with electric shock. [...]"

      Coming soon: human trials!
      • by Fluffeh (1273756)

        "... when confronted with electric shock. [...]"

        Coming soon: human trials!

        I am pretty sure that those websites have been around for many years already....

      • Human tails could be a much more interesting typo. :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 03, 2013 @04:39PM (#43063525)

    To summarize:

    Scientists removed the eyes from a tadpole and attached those eyes to another tadpole's ass, then shocked it to see if it could learn to see with it's ass. Hilarity ensued.

  • by Starteck81 (917280) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @04:39PM (#43063527)
    "I'm a mom, I have eyes in the back of my ass." -Ms. Tadpole
  • by jklovanc (1603149) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @04:54PM (#43063591)

    If by functional one means able to send nerve impulses to the brain then maybe. If by functional you mean sending nerve impulses to the brain that can be resolved into pictures similar to the eyes in the head has not been proven. They throw about terms like "statistically significant" yet this the measurements of performance are taken by subjective humans. Humans have a tendency to see what they want to see. This experiment has not been replicated and is therefore suspect.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

    The headline should say "on to". I'm becoming I grammar Nazi, but damn it editors...

  • Big deal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 03, 2013 @05:07PM (#43063651)

    Certain humans have had interchangeable head parts and posterior parts for years now. We call them "politicians".

    • Re:Big deal (Score:5, Insightful)

      by plover (150551) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @05:13PM (#43063673) Homepage Journal

      Certain humans have had interchangeable head parts and posterior parts for years now. We call them "politicians".

      I think they mostly talk out of their asses, though, and certainly not see out of them. They tend to even ignore crap that's right in front of their regular head-mounted eyes, so I'm not sure that gluing a set to their posteriors will change anything.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @05:10PM (#43063661)

    Isn't life already tough enough for tadpoles without some "scientist" grafting eyes onto their butts and jolting them with electricity?

  • "This research was funded by the Dr. Alphonse Mephesto Foundation"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 03, 2013 @05:26PM (#43063701)

    Sometimes you hear about shit that some researchers are up to, and you know that they've got that circuit in their head that causes them to gravitate toward experimental research like putting drops of acid into rabbit's eyes or raising chimpanzees in total isolation with nothing but chickenwire mother surrogates, all justifiable with perfectly reasonable arguments about how it's a shame there's no other way to do it and the insights are too valuable to pass up, but in your heart you know that the right thing to do is to stuff that researcher into a big canvas sack with a cinderblock, beat it with a baseball bat until it stops screaming, then dump it over the side.

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @05:38PM (#43063757)
    It's been known for some time that you can transplant cells for things like limbs on amphibians and they would be functional. Unfortunately it only works because they are very simple organisms. The same things don't apply to reptiles let alone mammals so it's not an advance that will lead to regrowing eyes. It's Frankenstein tinkering that leads to pointless suffering. A different standard needs to be applied to lifeforms than other sciences in that a question of "what if we did this" shouldn't be a enough to rationalize the research. There's plenty of worthy lines of research that don't involve vivisection.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      ...the man with eyes in his ass is king.

      You say all that above but face it, you're wrong. Much of medicine has been a matter of "what if we do this?". Same for much of science in general. That is what science is; asking questions and then testing to get answers.

      Understanding how things work for one organism can lead to breakthroughs in our understanding of other organisms. You may not see that, but it is still true.

      captcha: nearby

    • Someone on /. defending animals and being modded up? Pigs with eyes on their asses are flying.
    • by robi5 (1261542)

      Can you explain how amphibians are very simple organisms? Even a single cell is not simple. Are you assuming that the next levels of abstraction, tissues, organs and amphibian bodies, are somehow very simple? Or are they just different and somewhat simpler / more rudimentary relative to reptiles? Can we say that in the tree of life, we are mammals, all mammals are reptiles and all reptiles are amphibians, evolutionarily speaking?

  • by OhANameWhatName (2688401) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @06:45PM (#43064031)
    Where's the humanity?

    Not only do the scientists blind a tadpole, but they then graft the eyes onto another tadpole and where else but onto it's arse.

    Sometimes I think that mankind deserves to become extinct.
    • by Nidi62 (1525137)

      Where's the humanity?

      I think they are planing to apply to the FDA for human trials next month

      • I think they are planing to apply to the FDA for human trials next month

        The FDA has already denied their application. They noted that in these difficult financial times, there was little need to replicate the same experiment that is shown on C-span every day.

    • by manu0601 (2221348)

      Sometimes I think that mankind deserves to become extinct.

      Don't worry, we are working on it

  • by Anonymous Coward

    " they showed learning behavior when confronted with electric shock"

    Yes, I bet they did.
    These perverted monsters get their rocks off by torturing animals all day.

    Don't think so? Then why are they terrified of the public SEEING what they actually do?

    You know those undercover videos you've seen inside vivisection laboratories, where the so-called 'scientists' are punching beagles in the face, screaming at the animals they are supposed to be 'caring' for, and committing atrocity after atrocity? Just ask yourse

  • Maybe within a few short years conservatives who are keeping their head in the usual place might actually be able to see themselves looking back.

    We could call it an "eyenus".

  • Politicians that don't talk through their ass and can pull their heads completely out of their rectums.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I mean... what the fuck kind of shit do we do to animals in the name of "science"?

  • Expect to see the 5-assed monkey coming out of a lab near you!

  • Here's the problem (forgive the shout) BIOLOGY HAS NO FIRST PRINCIPLES.
    When a physicists set out to do an experiment, they start with first principles to establish a theory. This avoids wasting resources on pointless 'what if' s. Biology has nothing of the sort. Consider this experiment (which the TFA suggests has something to do with exploring the limits of the brain's plasticity):

    a) done on the larval stage of a life form when cell development is at its most flexible unlike a mature human brain. Note

  • The blurb was so disturbing, I don't know if I even want to read the article. WHY would anyone do this? For that matter, what happens when the tadpoles mature? The frog is sitting on its eye. Could you imagine the pain that would cause.

    And what is the point of this anyways? Sounds like something out of a horror movie. Sounds to me like these scientists need to be arrested.

I don't have any use for bodyguards, but I do have a specific use for two highly trained certified public accountants. -- Elvis Presley

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