News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

New insights on limb evolution from Auckland

New insights on limb evolution from Auckland

Media Release - University of Auckland - 5 December 2016

An Auckland medical scientist has contributed to a better understanding of the role of muscles in limb evolution from fish to land animals, in research published recently.

The study involved three scientists from Howard University College of Medicine and academic Peter Johnston from the University of Auckland.

“A continuous pattern of evolution from fins to limbs has been difficult to demonstrate,” says anatomy expert Peter Johnston.

“Our work brings together information from the sometimes separate spheres of traditional comparative anatomy, palaeontology, and modern developmental genetics.

“It sets the scene for a better understanding of the role of the soft tissues in limb evolution which are seldom preserved in fossils,” he says.

Lobe-fin or fleshy fin fishes such as coelacanths and lungfish are the fish closest to limbed land animals – the tetrapods (four-footed animals).

“Coelacanths were common residents of the oceans 300 million years ago and were thought to be extinct until 1938, but small numbers of the genus Latimeria were found near southern Africa and recently in Indonesia,” says Peter.

“In this study we analysed muscles in coelacanth and lungfish fins and have demonstrated structures that evolve into the tetrapod limb pattern,” he says. “Previous opinion was that many features of tetrapod limbs arose de novo [spontaneously new].”

Although lungfish are closer to tetrapods, the fin anatomy of coelacanths is a better model for tetrapod limb evolution, and this had not been appreciated previously.

“Coelacanth material is difficult to access,” says Peter who made several trips to the southern German university city of Tübingen to study material held there.

For the published paper, go to this link.
www.nature.com/articles/srep37592

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Howard Davis: Three Reasons for Film Fans to Get Netflix

The past two months have finally seen Netflix come into its own, providing the financing for three films that will warm the hearts of cinephiles everywhere - Orson Welles' The Other Side of The Wind, The Coen Brothers' The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and Alfonso Cuarón's Roma. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: The Rift by Rachael Craw

Rachael Craw's first series, Spark has been extremely well received by the YA community in both Australia and New Zealand (it has a hashtag, #SparkArmy), and The Rift looks like it’s going to be just as popular. More>>



Porn And Teens Report: 'Wake-Up Call' On Sexuality Education

Family Planning: The Office of Film and Literature Classification’s survey of more than 2000 young people about pornography highlights that sexuality education provides an opportunity for a vital counter-narrative to porn that could reach most young New Zealanders... More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland