Sarah Vine writes on the latest leap forward in anti-ageing technology

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Celebrities and beauty insiders alike are raving about a new wonder ingredient: frogspawn.

Research carried out by Prof K Ermit, an eminent Swiss geneticist, believes that frogspawn could hold the secret to eternal youth.

"The idea came to me one spring as I was clearing frogspawn from our pond," Professor Ermit explained at a news conference earlier this week. "Each individual egg contains all the building blocks needed to create a tadpole; and since it's a well-known fact that all life came from the sea, I figured there had to be some value in investigating further.”

His research, conducted in collaboration with Dr Jeremy Fisher of the California-based Croaker Foundation, has shown that the jelly in frogspawn is composed of a uniquely bio-available mixture of vital ingredients that are instrumental in the development of the tadpole's uniquely supple and flexible skin.

By extracting these ingredients in the form of a viscous serum, the team found that they could be used to repair and restore the elasticity of damaged skin. They had particular success in reversing the effects of sun-exposure and scarring.

"This is a very exciting breakthrough in the science of anti-ageing," Dr Fisher explained, "not least because the vital ingredient, frogspawn, is generally considered a nuisance for gardeners, especially at this time of year. By harnessing its natural skin-renewing potential, we are also helping keep the environment free of this pest."

But Ms B Potter, from the pressure group Hopping Mad, which campaigns for the protection of frogs in their natural habitat, disagrees. "It is absolutely disgraceful but sadly all too typical that the beauty industry should seek to plunder frogspawn. We will be fighting them all the way."