Fins to fingers: Ancient fish had the genes

January 22, 2014 11:41 AM

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Fins to fingers: Ancient fish had the genes

That conclusion, drawn by a team of researchers in Switzerland, casts new light on the evolution of four-legged land vertebrates, suggesting that a flick of a switch could have repurposed the bony radials of fins to become the fingers and toes of land-based animals.

The DNA programming architecture necessary to create such digits was present in the ancient genome of fish, before the emergence of amphibians, according to the researchers, who published their findings Tuesday in the online journal PLOS Biology.

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