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Keywords:

  • ontogeny;
  • saltations;
  • bone growth;
  • segment length;
  • zebrafish

Abstract

Fin length in the zebrafish is achieved by the distal addition of bony segments of the correct length. Genetic and molecular data provided evidence that segment growth uses a single pulse of growth, followed by a period of stasis. Examination of cell proliferation during segment growth was predicted to expose a graphical model consistent with a single burst of cell division (e.g., constant, parabolic, or exponential decay) during the lengthening of the distal-most segment. Cell proliferation was detected either by labeling animals with bromodeoxyuridine (during S-phase) or monitoring histone3-phosphate (mitosis). Results from both methods revealed that the number of proliferating cells fluctuates in apparent pulses as a segment grows (i.e., during the growth phase). Thus, rather than segment size being the result of a single burst of proliferation, it appears that segment growth is the result of several pulses of cell division that occur approximately every 60 microns (average segment length ∼ 250 microns). These results indicate that segment lengthening requires multiple pulses of cell proliferation. Developmental Dynamics 236:2668–2674, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.