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Scientists Transplant Functional Eyes On the Tails of Tadpoles

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the because-they-can dept.

Science 85

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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Great time to be a blind tadpole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43063457)

Scientists are hard at work to fix blindness in amphibians. Where the hell is the human medical technology? Seems to me that medical science has been going in circles for decades.

Re: Great time to be a blind tadpole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43063625)

Scientists are hard at work to fix blindness in amphibians. Where the hell is the human medical technology? Seems to me that medical science has been going in circles for decades.

Yeah, because we'd totally just try unproven experiments on ourselves without testing to see if it works and is safe. We may be that stupid, but the scientists aren't.

Unless you want a Nobel (4, Interesting)

witherstaff (713820) | about a year and a half ago | (#43063739)

A Doc who deliberately exposed himself to a bug for acute gastic illness earned himself a Nobel prize in physiology or medicine. [independent.co.uk]

Re:Unless you want a Nobel (4, Interesting)

uncqual (836337) | about a year and a half ago | (#43063903)

Yes - but he was convinced that he had found the answer already. He was not, at least in his mind, using himself to test on -- he was using himself as a subject to overcome the "settled science" mentality of the entrenched medical and scientific community by showing that he had, in fact, found the answer.

It seems to me that cases like these are quite different.

Look up Waldemar Haffkine (3, Informative)

Medievalist (16032) | about a year and a half ago | (#43063741)

Yeah, because we'd totally just try unproven experiments on ourselves without testing to see if it works and is safe. We may be that stupid, but the scientists aren't.

Testing on yourself is a time-honored tradition in both science and medicine.

Re:Look up Waldemar Haffkine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43063861)

A handful of cases doesn't make a time-honored tradition.

Re:Look up Waldemar Haffkine (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43063971)

Yeah, because we'd totally just try unproven experiments on ourselves without testing to see if it works and is safe. We may be that stupid, but the scientists aren't.

Testing on prisoners and students is a time-honored tradition in both science and medicine.

It's a rare scientist who intentionally tests on himself.

Re:Look up Waldemar Haffkine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43064701)

And the fact that some people have done something doesn't mean it was a good idea.

Some of those people fail, and die.

Re: Look up and say Shema Yisrael! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43066269)

> Testing on prisoners

Google for "Nurenberg Doctor Trials". Those nazi doctors all claimed to have followed orders, but that reasoning did not impress the war crimes court very much.

Re:Look up Waldemar Haffkine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43078621)

Yeah, because we'd totally just try unproven experiments on ourselves without testing to see if it works and is safe. We may be that stupid, but the scientists aren't.

Testing on prisoners and students is a time-honored tradition in both science and medicine.

Good point! And also "inferior races" and "far away brown people" (not always the same thing) have been popular.

It's a rare scientist who intentionally tests on himself.

It's a rare scientist who is documented to do so, but having spent decades in science I can tell you it's more common than you think. You'll rarely meet an old organic chemist with an intact sense of smell, for example.

Re: Great time to be a blind tadpole (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43063629)

Great time to be a dumb fuck too, you can just vomit out your meaningless drivel online for all the world to see.

Re: Great time to be a blind tadpole (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year and a half ago | (#43063689)

Where the hell is the human medical technology?

Sit tight, we've dispatched a emergency team of psychiatrists armed with a boot-load of Valium.

Re: Great time to be a blind tadpole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43064321)

That's a drug from 1963. You're making my point for me, doctor...

Re: Great time to be a blind tadpole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43064613)

Would you prefer a drug from later in that decade?

Re: Great time to be a blind tadpole (5, Funny)

jcoy42 (412359) | about a year and a half ago | (#43063773)

Where the hell is the human medical technology?

I don't know about you, but I'd just assume pass on grafting eyeballs onto my bum TYVM.

Re: Great time to be a blind tadpole (0)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43064343)

Where the hell is the human medical technology?

I don't know about you, but I'd just assume pass on grafting eyeballs onto my bum TYVM.

Hopefully, they grafted eyelids, too, otherwise, the view while taking a dump would be enought to jab a pencil in that third eye.

Re: Great time to be a blind tadpole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43064725)

I don't know about you, but I'd just assume pass on grafting eyeballs onto my bum TYVM.

I'm not sure if this is somehow different in places where people say "bum" instead of "ass", but 'round these parts the idiom goes, "I'd just as soon".

Re: Great time to be a blind tadpole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43066049)

*just as soon*

Re: Great time to be a blind tadpole (1)

Briareos (21163) | about a year and a half ago | (#43066751)

I take it then that Google Ass [youtube.com] isn't gonna be much of a success?

np: Bauchklang - Expo (Live In Mumbai)

Re: Great time to be a blind tadpole (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43065049)

It is called basic science. Basic science leads to applied science and applied science leads to technology. But if you don't put in the money for the basic science, the fields to explore for applied science will dry up.

Understanding how the eyes communicate with the brain of a growing organism is extremely important. If the general principles behind tadpole sight are understood, they might be able to scale up to human applications. But you don't know if you don't study it.

Re: Great time to be a blind tadpole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43065115)

That's the real question. These assholes need to be experimenting on human beings who volunteer for this stuff, not torturing and murdering animals.

Re: Great time to be a blind tadpole (1)

SJester (1676058) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069787)

Hi there. As a neuroscience doctoral student, I needed to chime in. We're still hammering out the details for how neurons from the retina organize and head to the brain, then map themselves out appropriately. Sperry's frog eye experiments helped a ton ( thanks Dr. Sperry! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemoaffinity_hypothesis [wikipedia.org] ) but we've been stuck with a bunch of problems and we're not ready for beta testing in humans yet, let alone a gold release. Among a bajillion other issues, amphibians are much better at reconnecting their nervous system than us fancy mammals. Sorry about looking like we're going in circles, we really should release more updates. Actually, we do release updates in journals. So maybe you should read more before opining. Thanks!

Re: Great time to be a blind tadpole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43077299)

you're a fucking student. if you knew anything, you wouldn't be.

Well Yeah (4, Insightful)

p0p0 (1841106) | about a year and a half ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Well Yeah (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43067421)

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??

Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43063469)

Well that sounds useful.

Re:Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43063579)

Science isn't about "why?", it's about "why not?" - Cave Johnson, beacon to us all.

Re:Why? (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070911)

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.

A rear view (1)

chienandalou (2637845) | about a year and a half ago | (#43063513)

could be very useful.

Re:A rear view (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year and a half ago | (#43063537)

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!

Re:A rear view (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about a year and a half ago | (#43063563)

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

Coming soon: human trials!

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

Re:A rear view (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year and a half ago | (#43063783)

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

Scientists did WHAT!?! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Scientists did WHAT!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43065113)

These scientists are just trolling for the Ig Nobel Prize. Oddly enough, this type of research could also lead to a Nobel Prize if it is able to discover the communication mechanisms for sight. Wouldn't it be great is the same discovery won both the Nobel Prize and Ig Nobel Prize?

Gives rise to a new expresssion... (4, Funny)

Starteck81 (917280) | about a year and a half ago | (#43063527)

"I'm a mom, I have eyes in the back of my ass." -Ms. Tadpole

Re:Gives rise to a new expresssion... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#43064099)

Or:

Boss: "You've got your head up your ass!"

Tadpole: "So?"

Re:Gives rise to a new expresssion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43070717)

Teen pregnancy in frogs is a serious issue, you insensitive clod!

Re:Gives rise to a new expresssion... (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070927)

It should go like this:

"As a Mom, I need eyes on the back of my ass."

Cue the puns (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43063535)

Sh*tty outlook on life.
Hindsight is 20/20.
Eyes in the back of their heads.

Did I miss any?

Re:Cue the puns (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43063593)

Did I miss any?

No, your life's work is now done and you are free to stop posting.
Please.

Re:Cue the puns (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | about a year and a half ago | (#43064647)

"If my tadpole was ugly as you, I'd implant eyes on its butt and teach it to swim backwards"

Or as Fox described it: Mutant frogs grow eyeballs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43063549)

Way to sensationalize a scientific article, Fox.

YUO FAIL LIT.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43063583)

Functional? (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Functional? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43063691)

It sort-of-has been replicated,
http://felixonline.co.uk/science/3341/rats-get-infrared-sixth-sense/ - this is basically giving rats a sense of infrared, by wiring up a photodetector to their brain.

This, similar to the above, does not mean that the rat can 'see' infrared, merely that it can utilise the information coming from that sensor.

Similarly, the tadpole experiment doesn't mean there is an actual visual image produced - it could simply be something like 'when my right thigh feels hot, I'm going to get shocked' - rather than a coherent visual image.

Re:Functional? (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070961)

Yes, but different kinds of sensory input can be utilized by the brain in amazing ways. Regardless of how the input comes in, it can be incorporated into the brain's sensory interpretation apparatus in amazing ways, and if the input resolution is high enough it could be used by the visual cortex in ways we probably can't even guess at yet.

This is not about putting eyes on your butt, but extrapolating what could be done with an alternative sensory apparatus and hacking the nervous system.

Re:Functional? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43063939)

I think someone needs to use their forward facing eyes when they read these articles in order the write the synopses.

Re:Functional? (3, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | about a year and a half ago | (#43065547)

It's already long known that a lot of the seeing is done in the brain. When someone draws something on your hand or other part of the body you can still "see it" even if you are blindfolded. The resolution is just isn't as good. Humans can learn to see with their tongues: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/1946/description/The_Seeing_Tongue [sciencenews.org]

They can also see with sound - either echolocation or pitch vs left-right volume. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLziFMF4DHA [youtube.com]
http://www.seeingwithsound.com/ [seeingwithsound.com]

This transplant experiment isn't very useful in my opinion. Yeah it shows that if you grow an eye on a different spot on a tadpole it can sometimes kind of work. But how useful is that? The artificial eye experiments on humans are far more useful.

On to (0)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#43063603)

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

Re:On to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43063643)

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

You may think you're becoming you grammar Nazi, but damn it... check your own grammar first!

Re:On to (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about a year and a half ago | (#43063671)

Yep, that should have been "I'm becoming a grade I grammar Nazi".

Re:On to (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070987)

This is /.

If you read it at all, you can't help but becoming at least mildly fascistic with respect to grammar.

All Seeing Tadpoles (1)

nickybio (1458399) | about a year and a half ago | (#43063631)

Let me be the first to bow down before our all-seeing tadpole overlords.

Big deal (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43063651)

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

Re:Big deal (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | about a year and a half ago | (#43063673)

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.

Re:Big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43064799)

The people that vote for them are the real shit-for-brains.. Why blame the politicians for doing what brings them the greatest rewards?

Oh come on (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#43063661)

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

Four-assed Monkey (1)

Miletos (1289588) | about a year and a half ago | (#43063665)

"This research was funded by the Dr. Alphonse Mephesto Foundation"

These Kinds of Scientists ... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Morbid and largely pointless (3, Insightful)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

In the land of the blind... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43064003)

...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

Re:Morbid and largely pointless (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43064025)

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.

Frogs are a helluva lot closer to humans than they are to the majority of creatures on this earth.

If you want to find out how to regenerate limbs and organs, you first have to experiment with working examples and figure out how they work.

Re:Morbid and largely pointless (1)

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) | about a year and a half ago | (#43064109)

Someone on /. defending animals and being modded up? Pigs with eyes on their asses are flying.

Re:Morbid and largely pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43065285)

Sure it could. If you don't believe in god then were all just a bunch of chemical reactions. So fuck you. I'm better than a cannibalistic tadpole and worth the risk. You have no idea how those things live, 99% don't survive. Imagine that infant mortality rate. .. And you're worried about a tiny shock of pain?

You ignorant idiot.

Re:Morbid and largely pointless (2)

robi5 (1261542) | about a year and a half ago | (#43066683)

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?

This is quite disgusting (4, Insightful)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:This is quite disgusting (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#43064173)

Where's the humanity?

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

Re:This is quite disgusting (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43064761)

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.

Re:This is quite disgusting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43064225)

>Sometimes I think that mankind deserves to become extinct.

You are cordially invited to lead the way.

I think this is an interesting discovery, myself.

Not a discovery (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43064375)

>Sometimes I think that mankind deserves to become extinct.

You are cordially invited to lead the way.

I think this is an interesting discovery, myself.

Technically, it isn't a discovery at all. They have been grafting body parts on tadpoles for a long time. The process is well documented. This may be the first time with an eye, but then again, until it is reproduced in another lab, it is just a report. Even if reproduced, it still wouldn't be a discovery, any more than building Hoover Dam was a discovery because nobody else had done it before.

Re:This is quite disgusting (2)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year and a half ago | (#43064667)

Sometimes I think that mankind deserves to become extinct.

Don't worry, we are working on it

Re:This is quite disgusting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43065011)

Sometimes I think that mankind deserves to become extinct.

Don't worry, we are working on it

Progress report can be found here -- http://www.earthdash.org/index.php [earthdash.org]

Have fun exploring, including various humorous easter eggs on some links.

Animal torturers - how brave... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43064157)

" 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 yourself - how many people who love animals could actually go and work at one of those hellholes, to get video footage of the abuse, while not being able to do anything to stop it, and while having to PARTICIPATE in torturing animals to death every day, in order to get that footage? Quite obviously only a tiny number of people could do such a thing. So how come there is so much footage like this?

Vivisection is medical fraud. The pharmaceutical industry is a massive scam, by and large, they paid billions of dollars in fines last year. Iatrogenic deaths are unbelievably high.

Re:Animal torturers - how brave... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43077473)

Fine. Then you should take an ethical stance and refuse all pharmaceuticals and all medicine derived from animal testing. You've probably already crossed that Rubicon many times, and your vaccinations won't abandon you despite your ethical stance, but you'll still wind up with a pretty hellish life fighting off microbes all on your own. Good luck the next time you get a little staph infection.. Or when you have a little growth on your shoulder. When something as simple as a little case of the clap is life threatening, your life is completely different.

But I've had that discussion before. Nobody who spouts your nonsense really believes it. Not when it comes time to die a horrible death for your beliefs. The religious nuts will take a principled stand and die for their beliefs, but not you animal rights nutters. No, you want all the privileges of living in a world with modern medicine, even as you rail against those who give you life. Enjoy your high-horse, dumbass.

So with a little development... (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | about a year and a half ago | (#43064401)

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".

But what is beyond science is .... (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year and a half ago | (#43064443)

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

Re:But what is beyond science is .... (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | about a year and a half ago | (#43064747)

Yeah, that's like claiming Bat Boy is real.

Does this just seem fucked up to you? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43065065)

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

Next, monkey asses (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | about a year and a half ago | (#43065363)

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

So Goatse isn't being gross... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43066477)

...he's just trying to get a better look at the camera?

Biology: no first principles, not a science ! (1)

fygment (444210) | about a year and a half ago | (#43066935)

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 as the tadpole becomes a frog, the tail is absorbed suggesting it plays a role in development and is a fertile area for growth eg. stem cell rich;
b) what are the commonalities between the human and amphibian brains (and tadpole butts); and
c) what understanding is there of the amphibian brain/body system. From the TFA itself it is staggeringly poor; the blinded tadpoles without ass-eyes reacted to the LED's and so "may" have another means of detecting light (a very IMPORTANT factor in this case since it invalidates the experiment).

A first principles approach would at least have identified the last item, tadpoles can detect light via something other than their eyes. Ergo, this experiment was pointless. Biology is not science, it is butterfly collecting, and when biologists get it in to their heads to pretend to be scientists, the acts they commit stagger the mind.

As an aside, do you know what the 'learning' was? One LED meant 'shock'. The other meant 'no shock'. What was 'learnt' was to exhibit fear actions when a 'shock' LED appeared. Just ponder that situation from the blinded tadpole point of view for a second.

Cruelty to animals? (1)

gravis777 (123605) | about a year and a half ago | (#43067593)

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.

Learning?! (1)

sirsky (53613) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069853)

Doesn't take a blind frog, or a frog with eyes on it's ass for that matter, to learn they don't like getting the shock treatment...

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