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Mech Dev. 2004 Jul;121(7-8):659-71.

Mutations affecting somite formation in the Medaka (Oryzias latipes).

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  • 1Department of Physiological Chemistry I, Biocenter, University of Wuerzburg, Am Hubland, D-97074 Wuerzburg, Germany.


The metameric structure of the vertebrate trunk is generated by repeated formation of somites from the unsegmented presomitic mesoderm (PSM). We report the initial characterization of nine different mutants affecting segmentation that were isolated in a large-scale mutagenesis screen in Medaka (Oryzias latipes). Four mutants were identified that show a complete or partial absence of somites or somite boundaries. In addition, five mutations were found that cause fused somites or somites with irregular sizes and shapes. In situ hybridization analysis using specific markers involved in the segmentation clock and antero-posterior (A-P) polarity of somites revealed that the nine mutants can be compiled into two groups. In group 1, mutants exhibit defects in tailbud formation and PSM prepatterning, whereas A-P identity in the somites is defective in group 2 mutants. Three mutants (planlos, pll; schnelles ende, sne; samidare, sam) have characteristic phenotypes that are similar to those in zebrafish mutants affected in the Delta/Notch signaling pathway. The majority of mutants, however, exhibit somitic phenotypes distinct from those found in zebrafish, such as individually fused somites and irregular somite sizes. Thus, these Medaka mutants can be expected to provide clues to uncovering novel components essential for somitogenesis.

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