Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date



Over the past several years, amphibian species have shown a sharp decline in population numbers. Many factors are believed to play a role in the loss of amphibian species. One of particular interest is the increase in ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching Earth’s surface. To estimate the health of a species, an assay needed to be developed. Health can be determined by measuring the ion channel functionality of the amphibian oocyte membrane. To develop this assay, we used acetylcholine to induce a membrane-potential oscillation in Xenopus laevis oocytes. Several studies have studied the membrane-potential oscillation of calcium-dependent chloride channels activated by acetylcholine, but no other study has used modern analytical techniques to determine the rhythmicity of oscillation. This study determined the period of the oscillation to be from 30 to 110 seconds in length. Future studies can be conducted using this protocol to determine the effect of ultraviolet radiation on these induced oscillations. A few studies have determined that UV radiation can be used to depolarize or hyperpolarize cellular membranes (Horn et al., 2000). This involves the opening or closing of voltage-gated ion channels and potentially affect early frog development and increase mortality.

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