Nascone-Yoder Lab

North Carolina State University

Our Model System: Why Frogs?

Frog embryos have distinct advantages for the study of digestive development:

  • Transparency: The development of the GI tract and digestive organs can be monitored in living embryos over time.


  • Morphogenesis: The complex elongation and rotation necessary to form the final anatomy of the amphibian GI tract are highly analogous to the events that occur in mammals.


  • Accessibility: Frog embryos are small and develop rapidly in vitro, making them excellent for chemical genetic screens.

Frog Links:




The coiling gut tube is visible in living transparent tadpoles (right image is transgenic tadpole, expressing GFP in the intestine).


Comparison of human and frog (Xenopus laevis) Gut Morphogenesis

Similar histological and topological changes occur during the development of human (A) and frog (B) primitive gut tubes.