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Elife. 2016 Apr 19;5:e09972. doi: 10.7554/eLife.09972.

Evolution of the head-trunk interface in tetrapod vertebrates.

Sefton EM1,2, Bhullar BA1,2,3,4,5, Mohaddes Z1,2, Hanken J1,2.

Author information

1
Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States.
2
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States.
3
Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, University of Chicago, Chicago, United States.
4
Department of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, New Haven, United States.
5
Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, New Haven, United States.

Abstract

Vertebrate neck musculature spans the transition zone between head and trunk. The extent to which the cucullaris muscle is a cranial muscle allied with the gill levators of anamniotes or is instead a trunk muscle is an ongoing debate. Novel computed tomography datasets reveal broad conservation of the cucullaris in gnathostomes, including coelacanth and caecilian, two sarcopterygians previously thought to lack it. In chicken, lateral plate mesoderm (LPM) adjacent to occipital somites is a recently identified embryonic source of cervical musculature. We fate-map this mesoderm in the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum), which retains external gills, and demonstrate its contribution to posterior gill-levator muscles and the cucullaris. Accordingly, LPM adjacent to the occipital somites should be regarded as posterior cranial mesoderm. The axial position of the head-trunk border in axolotl is congruent between LPM and somitic mesoderm, unlike in chicken and possibly other amniotes.

KEYWORDS:

Axolotl; Caecilian; Coelacanth; developmental biology; evolutionary biology; fate mapping; genomics; muscle development; neck evolution; stem cells

PMID:
27090084
PMCID:
PMC4841772
DOI:
10.7554/eLife.09972
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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