Xenopus tropicalis is rapidly being adopted as a model organism for developmental biology research and has enormous potential for increasing our understanding of how embryonic development is controlled. In recent years there has been a well-organized initiative within the Xenopus community, funded largely through the support of the National Institutes of Health in the US, to develop X. tropicalis as a new genetic model system with the potential to impact diverse fields of research. Concerted efforts have been made both to adapt established methodologies for use in X. tropicalis and to develop new techniques. A key resource to come out of these efforts is the genome sequence, produced by the US Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute and made freely available to the community in draft form for the past three years. In this review, we focus on how advances in X. tropicalis genetics coupled with the sequencing of its genome are likely to form a foundation from which we can build a better understanding of the genetic control of vertebrate development and why, when we already have other vertebrate genetic models, we should want to develop genetic analysis in the frog.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.