Genes In Human Limbs And Fish Gill Arches Have Similar Roles

By on May 4, 2016

Do you think your genes are related to those in fish? According to a study led by researchers at the University of Cambridge and University of Chicago, at least your limbs might be.

Scientists at the schools considered genes in fish including sharks, skates and rays. These fish are odd in the fish world because they have appendages growing out of their gill arches.

In these arches, because of their sheer strangeness, researchers propose that human limbs may have used them as an evolutionary starting point. Digging a little deeper, the scientists have found a gene called Sonic hedgehog that performs similar functions in both ray fish and human limbs.

Late-stage skate embryo. (Credit: J. Andrew Gillis)

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