The making of differences between fins and limbs

Authors

  • Tohru Yano,

    1. Department of Developmental Biology and Neurosciences, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, Aobayama Aoba-ku, Sendai, Japan
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  • Koji Tamura

    1. Department of Developmental Biology and Neurosciences, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, Aobayama Aoba-ku, Sendai, Japan
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Tohru Yano, Department of Developmental Biology and Neurosciences, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, Aobayama Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8578, Japan. E: tohru-yn@biology.tohoku.ac.jp

Abstract

‘Evo-devo’, an interdisciplinary field based on developmental biology, includes studies on the evolutionary processes leading to organ morphologies and functions. One fascinating theme in evo-devo is how fish fins evolved into tetrapod limbs. Studies by many scientists, including geneticists, mathematical biologists, and paleontologists, have led to the idea that fins and limbs are homologous organs; now it is the job of developmental biologists to integrate these data into a reliable scenario for the mechanism of fin-to-limb evolution. Here, we describe the fin-to-limb transition based on key recent developmental studies from various research fields that describe mechanisms that may underlie the development of fins, limb-like fins, and limbs.

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