The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 65: 103 - 110 (2021)

Vol 65, Issue 1-2-3

Special Issue: Developmental Biology in Ibero-America - Part 1

Experiences with the marsupial frogs: reminiscences of a developmental biologist

Published: 5 August 2020

Eugenia M. Del Pino*

Escuela de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador


This article provides a brief account of the career of Eugenia M. del Pino. Casual events and serendipity played important roles in modeling her career as a developmental biologist. In collaboration with colleagues and students, she analyzed the biology and development of the marsupial frog Gastrotheca riobambae (family: Hemiphractidae) in comparison with Xenopus laevis and tropical frogs. The emphasis was placed on oogenesis and the early stages of development. Topics include the mono- and multi-nucleated modes of oogenesis. She described two modes of gastrulation in frogs, gastrulation modes one and two, according to the timing of notochord elongation. She was able to establish a pioneer laboratory for the comparative analysis of frog development in Ibero America at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, in Quito. Her contributions to society include her influence in the establishment of the National Academy of Sciences of Ecuador, and efforts toward the conservation of the Galápagos Archipelago. She is part of a pioneer group of professors that placed Biology as an academic discipline in Ecuador. The experiences of her career reveal that we all face difficulties in our jobs. However, nothing is impossible when we follow a passion. Her work reveals that the key to success is to turn obstacles into opportunities.


mononucleated oogenesis, multinucleated oogenesis, frog development, gastrulation modes

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