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Keywords:

  • fin-to-limb evolution;
  • paired appendage development;
  • repression mode of apical fold

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.