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Effect of water hardness on oocyte quality and embryo development in the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis)

You are viewing information about the paper Effect of water hardness on oocyte quality and embryo development in the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis).

Journal: Comp Med 2004/05/12
Published: 2004
Authors: Godfrey, E. W.;Sanders, G. E.
Address: Department of Pathology and Anatomy, Eastern Virginia Medical School, P.O. Box 1980, Norfolk, Virginia 23501, USA.

Husbandry and health of the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, greatly influences the quality of oocytes produced. One factor affecting oocyte quality is the water conditions in which females are maintained. Dechlorination and adequate salt concentration are known to affect oocytes, but water hardness has not been considered an important factor in Xenopus husbandry by the research community. We found that, when females were kept in soft water or water with marine salts alone, even when it was cooled to 17 to 18 degrees C, the quality of oocytes decreased; only 20 to 25% of resulting embryos developed to tailbud stages. Survival and normal development of embryos increased significantly within one month of addition to the laboratory housing water of salts that mimic conditions in African Rift Valley lakes. These salts greatly increased water hardness; development of embryos to tailbud stages remained high (50 to 70% on average) for more than a year after their addition to the water housing females. Water from South African ponds where X. laevis are collected, and from wells used by the major suppliers of X. laevis, also was moderately to very hard. Our results suggest that X. laevis is naturally adapted to hard water, and indicate that increasing general hardness during laboratory housing is more important for oocyte quality and embryo development than is increasing carbonate hardness (alkalinity) in the water used to house females.

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