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FETAX, a versatile tool in toxicology, can be conveniently integrated with molecular biology techniques

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image of Applied Herpetology

The Frog Embryo Teratogenesis Assay-Xenopus (FETAX) is a powerful and flexible bioassay for developmental toxicants that makes use of the embryos of the anuran Xenopus laevis. FETAX, thanks to its three endpoints (i.e., mortality, malformation, and growth inhibition), can also detect the xenobiotics that affect embryonic development, a weak link in the life cycle of an organism. The FETAX protocol, however, is amenable to modification in several ways and to being integrated with molecular biology techniques that considerably increase the capability of the test. As exposure to xenobiotics may alter gene expression and therefore mRNA and protein patterns, transcriptome and proteome modifications can be studied with the aim to obtain new insights on the mechanisms of embryotoxicity and teratogenesis or simply to obtain molecular markers of exposure useful in the early diagnosis of environmental stress.


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