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    The Mexican tetra (Astyanax mexicanus) is one of the fresh water teleost fish models in evolutionary developmental biology. The existence of two morphs: eyed, pigmented surface fish and blind depigmented cavefish from multiple cave populations, provides a unique system to study adaptive radiation. Compared to the adult surface fish, cavefish have large oral jaws with an increased number of structurally-complex teeth. Early tooth development has not been studied in detail in cavefish populations. In this study, bone-stained growth series and vital dye staining was used to trace the development and replacement of dentitions in Pachón cavefish. Our results show that first tooth eruption was delayed in cavefish compared to the surface fish. In particular, the first tooth eruption cycle persisted until 35 days post fertilization (dpf). Unlike surface fish, there are multicuspid teeth in cavefish first generation dentition. In addition to the teeth in the marginal oral jaw bones, Pachón cavefish have teeth in the ectopterygoid bone of the palatine roof. Next, we characterised the expression of ectodysplasin signalling pathway genes in tooth-forming regions of surface and cavefish. Interestingly, higher expression of Eda and Edar was found in cavefish compared to the surface fish. The altered ectodysplasin expression needs further investigation to confirm the different molecular mechanisms for tooth development in the oral and pharyngeal regions of surface fish and cavefish. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Devi Atukorallaya, Vikram Bhatia, Jessica Gonzales. Divergent tooth development mechanisms of Mexican tetra fish (Astyanax mexicanus) of Pachón cave origin. Cells & development. 2023 Mar;173:203823

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    PMID: 36496080

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