Key genetic event underlying fin-to-limb evolution

Study of catsharks reveals how alterations in the expression, function of certain genes in limb buds underlie evolution of fish fins to limbs
Date:
August 18, 2015
Source:
Center for Genomic Regulation
Summary:
A study of catsharks reveals how alterations in the expression and function of certain genes in limb buds underlie the evolution of fish fins to limbs. The findings give new insight into how fish evolved to live on land in the form of early tetrapods.

This is a model of the fin-to-limb evolution. A gradual shift of the balance of anterior (green) and posterior (blue) field might have led to the evolution from fins into limbs.
Credit: Mikiko Tanaka, Tokyo Institute of Technology

A study of catsharks reveals how alterations in the expression and function of certain genes in limb buds underlie the evolution of fish fins to limbs. The findings are reported by researchers from Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG, Barcelona) and their collaborators in the journal eLife and give new insight into how fish evolved to live on land in the form of early tetrapods.

The first four-legged, land-living creatures — known as early tetrapods — evolved from fish, following the transformation of fins into limbs. This fin-to-limb evolution is a crucial, yet so far unsolved, example of how morphological changes can dramatically alter life on Earth. Now, researchers at Tokyo Tech and CRG, together with scientists across Japan and Spain, have revealed how genetic alterations governing the patterning of skeletal structures in fins may have led to the evolution of limbs and the rise of early tetrapods.

The forelimbs of tetrapod evolved from the pectoral fins of the ancestral fish. These fins contain three or more basal bones connected to the pectoral (shoulder) girdle. However, the most of basal bones located in the anterior side (i.e. the thumb side in the human limb) were lost in early tetrapods, and only the most posterior bone remained as the “humerus (i.e. the upper arm of humans).”…

Read full scientific article here:http://bit.ly/1NjwqzP

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