Fort Worth Zoo Working To Save Endangered Species Of Toad Through In Vitro Fertilization – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) The world’s first Houston toads made by in vitro fertilization with frozen sperm are located at the Fort Worth Zoo.

The zoo tries to maximize its population as fewer than 400 live in the wild.

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“It’s very worrying. Amphibians are bioindicators for a healthy environment. If these animals wane or disappear, that will be a red flag for us, ”said Diane Barber, curator of ectotherms at Fort Worth Zoo.

It’s also a big problem for the animal feed chain.

The Houston toads are vital to predators that feed on them.

Houston Toads (CBS 11)

Uri and Viola, named after the winter storms, were created by IVF and hatched in February – their siblings are in the wild.

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“In in vitro fertilization, we can select 200 to 300 eggs from one woman at a time and then pair those eggs with sperm from a specific man. Then we can repeat the process and use sperm from another man,” said Carrie Vance. Associate Research Professor at Mississippi State University. “So women can produce many different cohorts, each with a different man.”

It only takes about a month from mixing sperm and eggs to transforming them into Houston toads.

While poor reproduction is a big reason the species is endangered, other factors play a role, according to Vance.

Houston Toads (CBS 11)

“A lot of habitat is lost in the wild. There are poisonous poisons too, climate change is a big factor altering their survivability, ”Vance said.

But with steady efforts, herpetologists are confident that Houston toads will not face extinction in the near future.

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Fort Worth Zoo was again nominated for USA Today’s 10 Best Zoos in North America. To vote, click here.

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