Craniofacial abnormalities in the womb result in birth defects of the head or face, such as cleft lip and cleft palate. In the United States, 12 babies are born every day with a cleft lip, only one type of craniofacial abnormality. Scientists are studying the African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis) to understand how they are able to correct these abnormalities before birth. The frogs are also used to detect the source of birth defects in instances where an increase is noted. Hopefully, by studying how frogs correct craniofacial abnormalities before birth, researchers will be able to develop preventative treatments for humans.
Header: [“African clawed frogs” by Liz West, (Unedited). License: CC BY 2.0]