You can help save a rare frog from extinction!
Want to support the cause of helping endangered species, education, and advancing biotech in schools? Well, take 5 minutes and vote for our school to convince Khols' to give us 1/2 million $$!
Unfortunately the contest is over, but we're going to go for a $250,000 grant for a Pepsi contest in November. If you become a fan of our page (noted below) you'll be updated. Check back in November!
Not convinced? Well, here's our story:
You can help save a rare frog from extinction, and it is free!
Kohls the dept. store is donating $500,000 to the 20 schools with the most creative need for the money. Your vote can help our school win this money, and best of all it costs you nothing!
We are working on a project to try and save a rare frog from extinction. And we need the cash.
At our small high school of 300 students, we are trying to completely sequence the genome of a rare Arizona frog. We hope to accomplish 2 things from this work. 1) We hope to rescue this frog from extinction. 2) We hope to train a new generation of students in modern biotechnology, and rescue the State of Arizona from last place in quality of education in the United States.
The Chiricahua Leopard frog is currently listed as a threatened species. We have been working in conjunction with the Phoenix Zoo and Arizona Game and Fish to develop a genetic test that could aid in conservation efforts. We have already spent a year working on the sequence of the mitochondrial chromosome of this frog. Our school actually owns a DNA sequencer. We have made pioneering efforts in the design of genetic tests for this frog. Our students have presented 5 posters on our work at the International Plant and Animal Genome conference (PAG), quite an achievement for a high school. Our project was recently awarded one of only three heritage grants:
By the way, the other two Heritage grants were awarded to Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University.
What we really wish to do is completely sequence every chromosome in this frog. This is a very ambitious project. Consider that the human genome project completed in 2003, cost $3 billion dollars and took 13 years. Our leopard frog is estimated to contain twice as much DNA as humans! However, we think that with appropriate funding, and new technology that has recently become available we can accomplish this task in 2 years!
We wish to construct what are called “DNA libraries”, collections of broken chromosome fragments of known sizes. These can be sequenced quickly using NEXT generation sequencing technology. The Chinese genomic group BGI has agreed to cover the costs of NEXT generation sequencing, and genome assembly for our project (an estimated $1 million) if our school can come up with the remaining funds needed for the construction of the libraries. We need to purchase about $200,000 in new equipment, and extend our existing lab space.
With the completed genome sequence, we would like to have a custom “gene chip” manufactured. This chip will have all the DNA of the frog physically printed on it. The chip allows experiments to be carried out without any harm to any frog. This chip could then be used to aid conservation efforts by the Phoenix Zoo and Arizona Game & Fish. It could allow the exact parentage of every Chiricahua frog that is discovered to be known.
Eventually this technology will become the backbone of conservation work on all species, but at this early stage it is not possible for Arizona Game & Fish to raise the funds needed to generate a gene chip before it is too late for the frog.
Our school hopes to be the first in history to carry out a genome project. We hope this will serve as a guiding light to other schools, and start a grass-roots movement in the conservation and education world.
Help us save our frog! Here is the catch. Vote for us on Facebook, and convince all your friends to do the same (forward this message to them), or unfortunately the frog bites it! Everybody can vote up to 5 times for us. In this way YOU can help make the difference not only for this rare species, but if we can succeed you will help pave the way to help many others.
Dr. Mike Brown
Science Dept. Chair
602 569 1101
Interesting references/links about our project and research (really, we are real!):
Abstracts to posters presented by our high school students at the Plant ANimal Genome Conference (PAG)http://www.intl-pag.org/17/abstracts/P03a_PAGXVII_102.html
Our high school and its project
The MoBio scientific supply company featured us in their 2009 catalog, and describes our project on their “where in the world” page of their website:
See page 8 of the Phoenix Zoo’s Conservation Science Newsletter:
A recent article from the press: