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Dev Dyn. 2003 Feb;226(2):190-201.

Old questions, new tools, and some answers to the mystery of fin regeneration.

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Ottawa Health Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Pluridisciplinary approaches led to the notion that fin regeneration is an intricate phenomenon involving epithelial-mesenchymal and reciprocal exchanges throughout the process as well as interactions between ray and interray tissue. The establishment of a blastema after fin amputation is the first event leading to the reconstruction of the missing part of the fin. Here, we review our knowledge on the origin of the blastema, its formation and growth, and of the mechanisms that control differentiation and patterning of the regenerate. Our current understanding results from studies of fin regeneration performed in various teleost fish over the past century. We also report the recent breakthroughs that have been made in the past decade with the arrival of a new model, the zebrafish, Danio rerio, which now offers the possibility to combine cytologic, molecular, and genetic analyses and open new perspectives in this field.

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