Legs instead of fins - a new experiment genetics


Scientists do not stop experimenting on animals in search of answers to their questions evolution genetics. And Spanish scientists seem to be able to play the first stage output of vertebrates from sea to land.

In order to achieve the desired effect, the research team of geneticists led by Jose Gomez-Skarmeta from the University Pablo de Olavide in Seville decided to change the behavior of the gene Hoxd13, the activity of which is known to be extremely low in the embryos of fish and high in tetrapods. During the experiment, zebra fish (Danio rerio) was introduced into the genome of a second copy of Hoxd13.

As a result, the embryos with the altered gene in place of conventional fins are formed not flat and rounded limbs. Inside, the soft tissues were seen prerequisites for the development of uncharacteristic for fish cartilage and bone. This design was already pretty much resemble the animal’s paws, and, in all likelihood, some so there are hundreds of millions of years ago, turning the fish in amphibians.

Assumptions researchers confirmed and after the introduction of the missing gene into the genome of experimental CsS zebra fish, which controls the operation of Hoxd13 in mouse embryo, fins have been converted to a primitive analogue pads.

"We found that the gene from the genome of mice CsS intensified its Hoxd13 in the tips of the fins fish zebra. This indicates the presence of cellular mechanisms that can run that program transformations in the genome of the common ancestor of fish and land animals, "- said Fernando Casares, one of the study’s authors.

These studies suggest that one day, while continuing to work in this direction, genetics become so deftly juggle genes that will grow from the embryo fish are striped zebra hoof.

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