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Mech Dev. 1998 Dec;79(1-2):99-120.

The development of the paired fins in the zebrafish (Danio rerio).

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MPI für Entwicklungsbiologie, Tübingen, Germany.


In the present study, we describe the structure and normal development of the zebrafish (Danio rerio) paired fins. Particularly, we focus on the structure of the apical epidermis and on endoskeletal morphogenesis. Endoskeletal development proceeds differently in the pectoral and pelvic fins. Whereas in both fins major parts of the endoskeletal girdle develop within the fin bud mesenchyme, the pattern of chondrogenic condensations observed in the pelvic fins directly reflects the adult endoskeletal pattern. In the pectoral fin, a morphogenetic detour is taken via a functional larval endoskeleton, the endoskeletal disc. It arises in the fin bud mesenchyme from a chondrogenic anlage common with the girdle. The disc chondrifies and represents the functional endoskeleton of the larval pectoral fin. The pectoral fin endoskeleton is expanded as well as restructured during larval stages in a process which involves decomposition of cartilage matrix in the endoskeletal disc. Our comparisons of apical fold morphology with reports on other teleosts and tetrapod apical ridges show them to be homologous on the structural level. Comparisons of endoskeletal development of the zebrafish with reports on teleosts, actinopterygians and chondrichthyans show that endoskeletal morphogenesis in the zebrafish pectoral fin follows a morphogenetic process which is wide-spread among actinopterygians.

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