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    In the amniote embryo, the upper jaw and nasal cavities form through coordinated outgrowth and fusion of craniofacial prominences. Adjacent to the embryonic prominences are the developing eyes, which abut the maxillary and lateral nasal prominences. The embryos of extant sauropsids (birds and nonavian reptiles) develop particularly large eyes in comparison to mammals, leading researchers to propose that the developing eye may facilitate outgrowth of prominences towards the midline in order to aid prominence fusion. To test this hypothesis, we performed unilateral and bilateral ablation of the developing eyes in chicken embryos, with the aim of evaluating subsequent prominence formation and fusion. Our analyses revealed minor interaction between the developing craniofacial prominences and the eyes, inconsequential to the fusion of the upper beak. At later developmental stages, the skull exhibited only localized effects from missing eyes, while geometric morphometrics revealed minimal effect on overall shape of the upper jaw when it develops without eyes. Our results indicate that the substantial size of the developing eyes in the chicken embryo exert little influence over the fusion of the craniofacial prominences, despite their effect on the size and shape of maxillary prominences and components of the skull. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Jamil Jomaa, Jessica Martínez-Vargas, Shadya Essaili, Nida Haider, John Abramyan. Disconnect between the developing eye and craniofacial prominences in the avian embryo. Mechanisms of development. 2020 Mar;161:103596

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    PMID: 32044294

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