(Photo from SynDaver)
At last, a frog dissection experiment designed for the squeamish among us.
Meet SynFrog. It’s a frog made of synthetic materials, with skin and internal organs that look and feel like a real frog, that doesn’t smell like formaldehyde. Students can cut it open and see and examine everything inside. And when they are done, the frogs can be put back together and used again, and again. Meanwhile the real frogs can be left in the wild, rather than being chemically preserved for science experiments.
Surviving frogs owe it all to the materials that make SynFrog look and feel so real. Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) hydrogel is the key for the simulated tissues in all of the products from SynDaver. PVA uses ethylene as the building block for the vinyl and acetate parts of the molecule.
And ethylene, of course, is a petrochemical. That makes for a recipe for happy biology students, and frogs too.