Evolutionary developmental transition from median to paired morphology of vertebrate fins: Perspectives from twin-tail goldfish

Gembu Abe, Kinya G. Ota

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Vertebrate morphology has been evolutionarily modified by natural and/or artificial selection. The morphological variation of goldfish is a representative example. In particular, the twin-tail strain of ornamental goldfish shows highly diverged anal and caudal fin morphology: bifurcated anal and caudal fins. Recent molecular developmental genetics research revealed that a stop codon mutation in one of the two recently duplicated chordin genes is important for the highly diverged fin morphology of twin-tail goldfish. However, some issues still need to be discussed in the context of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo). For example, the bifurcated anal and caudal fins of twin-tail goldfish provided early researchers with insights into the origin of paired fins (pectoral and pelvic fins), but no subsequent researchers have discussed this topic. In addition, although the fossil jawless vertebrate species Euphanerops is also known to have had a bifurcated anal fin, how the bifurcated anal fin of twin-tail goldfish is related to that of fossil jawless vertebrate species has never been investigated. In this review, we present an overview of the early anatomical and embryological studies of twin-tail goldfish. Moreover, based on the similarity of embryonic features between the secondarily bifurcated competent stripe in twin-tail goldfish and the trunk bilateral competent stripes in conventional gnathostomes, we hypothesized that they share the same molecular developmental mechanisms. We also postulate that the bifurcated anal fin of Euphanerops might be caused by the same type of modification of dorsal-ventral patterning that occurs in the twin-tail goldfish, unlike the previously suggested evolutionary process that required the co-option of paired fin developmental mechanisms. Understanding the molecular developmental genetics of twin-tail goldfish allows us to further investigate the evolutionary developmental mechanisms of the origin of paired fins.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)251-257
    Number of pages7
    JournalDevelopmental Biology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 15


    • Artificial selection
    • Goldfish
    • Molecular developmental genetics
    • Morphological evolution
    • Paired fins

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Molecular Biology
    • Developmental Biology
    • Cell Biology


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