Cell Biology and Anatomy
The evolution of tetrapod limbs from paired fins has long been of interest to both evolutionary and developmental biologists. Several recent investigative tracks have converged to restructure hypotheses in this area. First, there is now general agreement that the limb skeleton is patterned by one or more Turing-type reaction-diffusion, or reaction-diffusion-adhesion, mechanism that involves the dynamical breaking of spatial symmetry. Second, experimental studies in finned vertebrates, such as catshark and zebrafish, have disclosed unexpected correspondence between the development of digits and the development of both the endoskeleton and the dermal skeleton of fins. Finally, detailed mathematical models in conjunction with analyses of the evolution of putative Turing system components have permitted formulation of scenarios for the stepwise evolutionary origin of patterning networks in the tetrapod limb. The confluence of experimental and biological physics approaches in conjunction with deepening understanding of the developmental genetics of paired fins and limbs has moved the field closer to understanding the fin-to-limb transition. We indicate challenges posed by still unresolved issues of novelty, homology, and the relation between cell differentiation and pattern formation.
Stewart, T., Bhat, R., & Newman, S. (2017). The Evolutionary Origin of Digit Patterning. EvoDevo, 8, 21. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13227-017-0084-8
Originally published in EvoDevo (2017) 8:21. The original material can be found here.
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