researchers from the Andalusian Center for Development Biology (a joint center of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the Pablo de Olavide University) has identified the evolutionary origin of the extremities of vertebrates: the dorsal fin of fish . This key evolutionary event is believed to have happened approximately 400 million years ago. The finding, which is published in the journal Nature Genetics , has been achieved through molecular and genetic evidence. The study of both the fossil record and non-extinct species with primitive characteristics, such as coelacanths and rays, which are the oldest fish, had already shown that the limbs developed from modifications of the paired (pectoral and pelvic) fins. of the fish, from which the human being descends. Thus, the arms and hands evolved from the pectoral fins while the legs and feet evolved from the pelvic fins.
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However, until now the evolutionary origin of Romania Email List these structures was unknown. José Luis Gómez-Skarmeta, one of the directors of the work and researcher at the CSIC at the Andalusian Center for Developmental Biology points out: “Through functional tests in fish and mice and through the CRISPR technique, we have demonstrated the evolutionary conservation of the function of the Sonic hedgehog (Shh) gene in the limbs of all vertebrates ”. Scientists have also found the fundamental role of a part of DNA, the regulatory element ZRS, both in the formation of paired fins and in the development of the dorsal fin. “We have shown that this element is essential not only for the formation of the even fins of the fish but, surprisingly, for the formation of the dorsal fins. This indicates that the set of genes necessary to build a pectoral and a dorsal fin are the same and, therefore,
have a common evolutionary origin ”, explains Juan Ramón Martínez Morales, the other director of the work and scientist at the CSIC at the same institute . The study has revealed that in fish, unlike in mice, the elimination of the ZRS element does not drastically affect the development of the paired limbs. “Thus we discovered the existence of another Shh regulatory element unknown until now, but conserved in humans, and which also activates the expression of Shh in the extremities. We verify that by eliminating both regulatory elements of Shh using the CRISPR technique, the pectoral and pelvic fins, as well as the dorsal fin, disappear ”, adds Joaquín Letelier, first author of the work and also a scientist at the CSIC at the Andalusian Center for Developmental Biology. This finding opens up new avenues of research in biomedicine, since mutations in the Shh gene cause polydactyly,