We assessed DNA repair and resistance to solar radiation in eggs of members of the western spotted frog complex (Rana pretiosa and R. luteiventris), species whose populations are suffering severe range reductions and declines. Specifically, we measured the activity of photoreactivating enzyme (photolyase) in oocytes of spotted frogs. In some species, photoreactivation is the most important mechanism for repair of UV-damaged DNA. Using field experiments, we also compared the hatching success of spotted frog embryos at natural oviposition sites at three elevations, where some embryos were subjected to ambient levels of UV-B radiation and others were shielded from UV-B radiation. Compared with other amphibians, photolyase activities in spotted frogs were relatively high. At all sites, hatching success was unaffected by UV-B. Our data support the interpretation that amphibian embryos with relatively high levels of photolyase are more resistant to UV-B radiation than those with lower levels of photolyase. At the embryonic stage, UV-B radiation does not presently seem to be contributing to the population declines of spotted frogs.
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DNA repair and resistance to UV-B radiation in western spotted frogs