Limb Loss in Vertebrates

| 2 Comments

An interesting article in this week's edition of Nature suggests that at least in some fish, alterations in a single gene bring about evolutionary change in the form of limb (fin) loss.

Genetic and developmental basis of evolutionary pelvic reduction in threespine sticklebacks
MICHAEL D. SHAPIRO, MELISSA E. MARKS, CATHERINE L. PEICHEL, BENJAMIN K. BLACKMAN, KIRSTEN S. NERENG, BJARNI JÓNSSON, DOLPH SCHLUTER & DAVID M. KINGSLEY
Nature 428, 717–723

Eurekalert press release
Original Article
Discussion by Shubin & Dahn

2 Comments

Interesting. And this sort of change is another way that evolution can happen in bursts. Goldschmidt’s “Hopeful Monsters” have been much ridiculed, with some justification, but the growth of evolutionary developmental biology has enabled hypotheses like these to become testable.

Now to snakes. As I understand it, snakes do not grow front limbs because they no longer have a front-limb Hox zone; they have no place where the expression and non-expression of various Hox genes will induce the growth of front limbs. By comparison, their hindlimbs buds grow and then get resorbed in completely-legless snakes.

But in limb evolution, it is difficult to compete with arthropods – a single individual one can have limbs specialized in several different ways.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by John M. Lynch published on April 14, 2004 4:32 PM.

Answers in Nemesis was the previous entry in this blog.

Beckwith’s Reply on the Establishment Clause Posts is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.361

Site Meter