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Dev Biol. 2010 Nov 1;347(1):236-45. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.07.034. Epub 2010 Aug 6.

Allometric growth of the trunk leads to the rostral shift of the pelvic fin in teleost fishes.

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Graduate School of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, B-17, 4259 Nagatsuta-cho, Midori-ku, Yokohama 226-8501, Japan.


The pelvic fin position among teleost fishes has shifted rostrally during evolution, resulting in diversification of both behavior and habitat. We explored the developmental basis for the rostral shift in pelvic fin position in teleost fishes using zebrafish (abdominal pelvic fins) and Nile tilapia (thoracic pelvic fins). Cell fate mapping experiments revealed that changes in the distribution of lateral plate mesodermal cells accompany the trunk-tail protrusion. Presumptive pelvic fin cells are originally located at the body wall adjacent to the anterior limit of hoxc10a expression in the spinal cord, and their position shifts rostrally as the trunk grows. We then showed that the differences in pelvic fin position between zebrafish and Nile tilapia were not due to changes in expression or function of gdf11. We also found that hox-independent motoneurons located above the pelvic fins innervate into the pelvic musculature. Our results suggest that there is a common mechanism among teleosts and tetrapods that controls paired appendage positioning via gdf11, but in teleost fishes the position of prospective pelvic fin cells on the yolk surface shifts as the trunk grows. In addition, teleost motoneurons, which lack lateral motor columns, innervate the pelvic fins in a manner independent of the rostral-caudal patterns of hox expression in the spinal cord.

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