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Symposium: Minisymposium on Amphibian Metamorphosis, to be held Chicago, IL, January 3-7, 2001

During the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) to be held January 3-7 in Chicago, Illinois, the Division of Comparative Endocrinology will sponsor a mini-symposium on amphibian metamorphosis. This mini-symposium will concentrate on molecular mechanisms and hormonal control of metamorphosis. <br/><br/>Metamorphosis consists of a series of postembryonic developmental steps that leads to the transformation of an aquatic tadpole into an often land-dwelling frog. This sequence of events is triggered and controlled by hormones. Although humans are direct developers, and thus do not undergo a metamorphosis, many of the same basic developmental processes occur in frogs and man. Amphibian metamorphosis provides an ideal animal model system to analyze, at the cellular and molecular level, how hormones orchestrate development. <br/><br/>Concern over the status of amphibian populations has been mounting due to widespread reports of population declines and deformities in adult frogs. Recent reports of malformed frogs throughout the Great Lakes Region have focused concern on the effects of pollution on amphibian development. Both wildlife and human populations in the Great Lakes region and beyond are potentially at risk from the teratogenic effects of such pollutants. Because many of these pollutants can mimic or alter hormonal signaling there is a strong potential for disruption of basic developmental processes. Amphibians can serve both as indicator species of environmental contamination and powerful model systems for assessing potential deleterious effects of pollutants on wildlife and humans.<br/><br/>In this symposium, experts in various scientific disciplines and whose central theme of investigation is amphibian metamorphosis will take a multidisciplinary approach to analyzing this complex process. Speakers will address the molecular, evolutionary and hormonal aspects of amphibian metamorphosis. This synthesis of scientific expertise from different disciplines will advance understanding of this fundamental developmental process and may advance our understanding of the physiological problems underlying declines of some amphibian populations.

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