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Science. 2000 Sep 22;289(5487):2137-9.

Patterning of the zebrafish retina by a wave of sonic hedgehog activity.

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  • 1Max-Planck Institut fuer Entwicklungsbiologie, Spemannstrasse 35/III, D-72076 Tuebingen, Germany.


The Drosophila retina is patterned by a morphogenetic wave driven by the Hedgehog signaling protein. Hedgehog, secreted by the first neurons, induces neuronal differentiation and hedgehog expression in nearby uncommitted cells, thereby propagating the wave. Evidence is presented here that the zebrafish Hedgehog homolog, Sonic Hedgehog, is also expressed in the first retinal neurons, and that Sonic Hedgehog drives a wave of neurogenesis across the retina, strikingly similar to the wave in Drosophila. The conservation of this patterning mechanism is unexpected, given the highly divergent structures of vertebrate and invertebrate eyes, and supports a common evolutionary origin of the animal visual system.

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