The evolutionary origin of the autopod involved a loss of the fin-fold and associated dermal skeleton with a concomitant elaboration of the distal endoskeleton to form a wrist and digits. Developmental studies, primarily from teleosts and amniotes, suggest a model for appendage evolution in which a delay in the AER-to-fin-fold conversion fuelled endoskeletal expansion by prolonging the function of AER-mediated regulatory networks. Here, we characterize aspects of paired fin development in the paddlefish Polyodon spathula (a non-teleost actinopterygian) and catshark Scyliorhinus canicula (chondrichthyan) to explore aspects of this model in a broader phylogenetic context. Our data demonstrate that in basal gnathostomes, the autopod marker HoxA13 co-localizes with the dermoskeleton component And1 to mark the position of the fin-fold, supporting recent work demonstrating a role for HoxA13 in zebrafish fin ray development. Additionally, we show that in paddlefish, the proximal fin and fin-fold mesenchyme share a common mesodermal origin, and that components of the Shh/LIM/Gremlin/Fgf transcriptional network critical to limb bud outgrowth and patterning are expressed in the fin-fold with a profile similar to that of tetrapods. Together these data draw contrast with hypotheses of AER heterochrony and suggest that limb-specific morphologies arose through evolutionary changes in the differentiation outcome of conserved early distal patterning compartments.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 31 May 2017|