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Novel behavioral paradigms to assay neurodevelopmental disorders in the Xenopus laevis tadpole


Experimental behavioral assays and animal models are essential to elucidate the mechanisms that underlie behavioral phenotypes associated with disorders such as autism. The Xenopus laevis tadpole has long been used as a model to study mechanisms that underlie developmental abnormalities. Many behaviors of the Xenopus tadpole have also been described, and its neural circuit development has been extensively studied and can be easily observed. As such, we aim to use the X. laevis tadpole as a model for neurodevelopmental disorders. In this study, we develop and validate a comprehensive set of methods and experimental approaches to quantify the behavior of X. laevis tadpoles and to test their neural development. The behavioral assays include visual avoidance behavior (a type of behavior in which the animal avoids objects engaging at a collision trajectory), acoustic startle reflex habituation (a form of non-associative memory that relies on the hindbrain circuitry), and pre-pulse inhibition (a type of hindbrain-mediated short-term sensory processing in which a weaker pre-stimulus inhibits the effects of a subsequent strong stimulus). This study provides the scientific community with a set of tools for experimentation on X. laevis tadpoles to uncover neural mechanisms for neurodevelopmental disorders.


Ramirez Vizcarrondo, Carolina M., "Novel behavioral paradigms to assay neurodevelopmental disorders in the Xenopus laevis tadpole" (2014). Summer Research Symposium. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.



  • Summer Research Symposium

    Each year, Brown University showcases the research of its undergraduates at the Summer Research Symposium. More than half of the student-researchers are UTRA recipients, while others receive funding from a variety of Brown-administered and national programs and fellowships and go …