Feeds

Fish grow ‘hands’ in genetic experiment

Don’t let them near the lasers

Security for virtualized datacentres

It’s a pretty safe presumption that hands evolved from fins, since fish evolved long before anything remotely resembling an opposable thumb. Now, a group of Spanish researchers has demonstrated a genetic expression that hints at how it happened.

The group, led by Dr José Luis Gómez-Skarmeta of Spain’s CSIC-Universidad Pablo de Olavide-Junta de Andalucía in Seville, found that zebrafish injected with a mouse gene, hoxd13, developed leg-like limbs where fins should be. This indicates that the hoxd13 gene – which occurs in the fish, but at lower levels than in mice – helped drive the genetic changes that eventually become arms, legs, hands and feet.

Dude, where's my laser? Image: Developmental Cell

As explained in New Scientist, hoxd13 codes for a protein that controls the development of autopods, a precursor to hands and feet.

All of the fish that took up the gene developed autopods rather than fins within a day. However, the genetic experiment was also fatal to the fish.

As noted in the abstract of the paper, published at Developmental Cell, the over-expression of hodx13 modifies the 5’Hodx gene transcription.

“Our results support the idea that modulation of 5′Hoxd gene expression, by acquisition of novel enhancer elements, offered the substrate for the evolution of fins and the origin of tetrapod limbs,” the abstract states.

There’s no hint that Dr Gómez-Skarmeta plans to try the same trick on sharks, thankfully. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.