Get access

The outflow tract of the heart in fishes: anatomy, genes and evolution

Authors

  • A. C. Grimes,

    Corresponding author
    1. * Departamento de Biología del Desarrollo Cardiovascular, Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC), Melchor Fernández Almagro, 3 28029 Madrid, Spain and Department of Pediatrics (Neonatology), Duke University Medical Center, Bell Research Building, Trent Drive, Durham, NC 27710, U.S.A.
      †Tel.: +34 91 453 1286; fax: +34 91 453 1304; email: acgrimes@cnic.es
    Search for more papers by this author
  • M. L. Kirby

    1. * Departamento de Biología del Desarrollo Cardiovascular, Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC), Melchor Fernández Almagro, 3 28029 Madrid, Spain and Department of Pediatrics (Neonatology), Duke University Medical Center, Bell Research Building, Trent Drive, Durham, NC 27710, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author

†Tel.: +34 91 453 1286; fax: +34 91 453 1304; email: acgrimes@cnic.es

Abstract

A large number of congenital heart defects associated with mortality in humans are those that affect the cardiac outflow tract, and this provides a strong imperative to understand its development during embryogenesis. While there is wide phylogenetic variation in adult vertebrate heart morphology, recent work has demonstrated evolutionary conservation in the early processes of cardiogenesis, including that of the outflow tract. This, along with the utility and high reproductive potential of fish species such as Danio rerio, Oryzias latipesetc., suggests that fishes may provide ideal comparative biological models to facilitate a better understanding of this poorly understood region of the heart. In this review, the authors present the current understanding of both phylogeny and ontogeny of the cardiac outflow tract in fishes and examine how new molecular studies are informing the phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary trajectories that have been proposed. The authors also attempt to address some of the issues of nomenclature that confuse this area of research.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary