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Evolution of the head-trunk interface in tetrapod vertebrates.

April 21, 2016

Vertebrate neck musculature spans the transition zone between head and trunk. The extent to which the cucullaris muscle is a cranial muscle allied with the gill levators of anamniotes or is instead a trunk muscle is an ongoing debate. Novel computed tomography datasets reveal broad conservation of the cucullaris in gnathostomes, including coelacanth and caecilian, two sarcopterygians previously thought to lack it. In chicken, lateral plate mesoderm (LPM) adjacent to occipital somites is a recently identified embryonic source of cervical musculature. We fate-map this mesoderm in the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum), which retains external gills, and demonstrate its contribution to posterior gill-levator muscles and the cucullaris. Accordingly, LPM adjacent to the occipital somites should be regarded as posterior cranial mesoderm. The axial position of the head-trunk border in axolotl is congruent between LPM and somitic mesoderm, unlike in chicken and possibly other amniotes.

Elizabeth M Sefton, Bhart-Anjan S Bhullar, Zahra Mohaddes & James Hanken (2016)
Evolution of the head-trunk interface in tetrapod vertebrates.
eLife 2016;5:e09972
DOI: http: // dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09972


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