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“Olaf” (pictured) is the first amphibian born via IVF. Previously thought to be extinct, 300+ members of this critically endangered species, the Puerto Rican Crested Toad, were born from sperm previously frozen – hence named after the Disney character – in order to save the species from extinction.

“Olaf” (pictured) is the first amphibian born via IVF. Previously thought to be extinct, 300+ members of this critically endangered species, the Puerto Rican Crested Toad, were born from sperm previously frozen – hence named after the Disney character – in order to save the species from extinction.

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tea_and_biology
tea_and_biology
5 months ago

In 2018, a team of scientists traveled to the southwest town of Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, to capture and extract sperm from the few remaining adult Puerto Rican Crested Toads ([*Peltophryne lemur*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto_Rican_crested_toad)). Okay. But why?

Puerto Rican Crested Toads have always been rare. In 1966 they were declared extinct, until a small population was rediscovered in the 1980s – however, the population was still under severe stress, and was reduced to approx. 80 individuals at a single location by 2003. Several dozen were captured for ex-situ breeding programs in US zoos; the problem however was a lack of genetic diversity. And so in 2017 an attempt to collect new genetic information from wild toads was launched.

Apparently extracting sperm from a toad is comparatively easy – many automatically release it when they urinate; and they typically urinate when scooped up by a human (don’t blame ’em; we scary). And if they don’t pee, well, according to Diane Barber of Fort Worth Zoo: “It’s kind of weird, but if you hold them in your hand and look at them and bark at them like a dog, they will pee”.

The sperm was quickly frozen in liquid nitrogen, transported to Fort Worth Zoo, Texas, thawed and injected into awaiting captive females. This pioneering attempt was a success – over 300 fertilised eggs were successfully reared to adulthood (including “Olaf”, another pic [here]comment image), n’aaaw!), providing a significant boost to Puerto Rican Crested Frog numbers.

_____

**^References:**

[^(“Meet Olaf, the IVF toad”. *Fort Worth Zoo Press Release*. Nov 2019)]( https://www.fortworthzoo.org/conservation-blog/posts/meet-olaf-the-ivf-toad#dismiss)

[^(“First in vitro Puerto Rico crested toad gives scientists hope”. *Phys.org web article*. Nov 2019)](https://phys.org/news/2019-11-1st-vitro-puerto-rico-crested.html)

[^(Beauclerc, K.B., Johnson, B. & White, B.N. (2010)^) ^(Genetic rescue of an inbred captive population of the critically endangered Puerto Rican crested toad (*Peltophryne lemur*)^) ^(by mixing lineages. *Conservation Genetics*. 11, 21-32)](https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10592-008-9782-z)

[^(Matos-Torres, J. J. (2006)^). ^(Habitat Characterization for the Puerto Rican Crested Toad (Peltophryne [Bufo] lemur)^) ^(at Guánica State Forest, Puerto Rico. M. S. thesis. University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus.)](https://scholar.uprm.edu/handle/20.500.11801/598)

^(Stuart, S., Hoffmann, M., Chanson, J., Cox, N., Berridge, R., Ramani, P., Young, B. (eds)^) ^(2008)^). ^(*Threatened Amphibians of the World*. Lynx Edicions, IUCN, and Conservation International, Barcelona, Spain; Gland, Switzerland; and Arlington, Virginia, USA.)

^(**Photo credit:** Fort Worth Zoo)

Megalicious15
Megalicious15
5 months ago

Bark at em like a dog…get toad sperm. Huh.

annabelg31
annabelg31
5 months ago

Scientists were like, lol he came from frozen sperm let’s call him Olaf

WildEncountersTB
WildEncountersTB
5 months ago

That’s amazing! Hope this will bring the numbers back up, for future generations so they to can enjoy seeing this species

paint_chips_kid
paint_chips_kid
5 months ago

Let him grow, let him grow

Ree3ee3ee3ee3
Ree3ee3ee3ee3
5 months ago

Didnt knowolaf from Frozen was made of sperm. Thanks for the info

WillFuckForFijiWater
WillFuckForFijiWater
5 months ago

This reminds me, whatever happened to the notion of bringing Wooly Mammoths back through cloning or whatever it was they were doing?

_batata_ana_
_batata_ana_
5 months ago

Wow, that’s amazing

Ivory_Beetle
Ivory_Beetle
5 months ago

How do they collect toad sperm?

wentbacktoreddit
wentbacktoreddit
5 months ago

Absolutely no one:

Scientists: we brought back tiny frogs that ejaculate when scared!

Ishygigity
Ishygigity
5 months ago

“Kill me or release me naked ape, but do not waste my time …”

Bacterius_Rex
Bacterius_Rex
5 months ago

Hypnotoad says: “You will save my species.”

Amy0510
Amy0510
5 months ago

Very confusing. Sounds positive on the other hand 🖐👍

RamblingSimian
RamblingSimian
5 months ago

Let’s hope we can save that species and many more!

jaehyunjung
jaehyunjung
5 months ago

Having grown up hearing about these “sapos conchos”, I’m super glad about this initiative, though I can’t help but wish we could also do this research locally. Either way, I’m excited to see if this can hopefully boost these little guys’ population. Great going!

lordbazul
lordbazul
5 months ago

Now do dinosaurs

mayin_hora
mayin_hora
5 months ago

Olaf is pleased to be alive.

startfragment
startfragment
5 months ago

Sooo… this is Jurassic park?

PimplyMoose
PimplyMoose
5 months ago

The implication that Olaf in the movies it’s just a snowman of frozen sperm is too much for me right now

shortiz420
shortiz420
5 months ago

Thak you Dr.Finkelstein for you hard work!

Moorbilt
Moorbilt
5 months ago

Count Olaf: “Genius ideas are simple, like the wheel or in vitro fertilization”.

hsosborne8
hsosborne8
5 months ago

Anyone ever wonder “maybe there’s a reason this species is almost extinct?” And if we’re messing up something by boosting numbers ?

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