ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-070711-29
Zebrafish dentition in comparative context
Stock, D.W.
Date: 2007
Source: The Journal of experimental biology   308(5): 523-549 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Stock, David W.
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Anatomy, Comparative*
  • Animals
  • Cypriniformes/classification
  • Cypriniformes/physiology
  • Dentition*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Mammals/growth & development
  • Phylogeny*
  • Tooth/anatomy & histology
  • Tooth/growth & development
  • Tooth Loss/genetics
  • Vertebrates/growth & development
  • Zebrafish/growth & development*
PubMed: 17607704 Full text @ J. Exp. Biol.
Studies of the zebrafish (Danio rerio) promise to contribute much to an understanding of the developmental genetic mechanisms underlying diversification of the vertebrate dentition. Tooth development, structure, and replacement in the zebrafish largely reflect the primitive condition of jawed vertebrates, providing a basis for comparison with features of the more extensively studied mammalian dentition. A distinctive derived feature of the zebrafish dentition is restriction of teeth to a single pair of pharyngeal bones. Such reduction of the dentition, characteristic of the order Cypriniformes, has never been reversed, despite subsequent and extensive diversification of the group in numbers of species and variety of feeding modes. Studies of the developmental genetic mechanism of dentition reduction in the zebrafish suggest a potential explanation for irreversibility in that tooth loss seems to be associated with loss of developmental activators rather than gain of repressors. The zebrafish and other members of the family Cyprinidae exhibit species-specific numbers and arrangements of pharyngeal teeth, and extensive variation in tooth shape also occurs within the family. Mutant screens and experimental alteration of gene expression in the zebrafish are likely to yield variant tooth number and shape phenotypes that can be compared with those occurring naturally within the Cyprinidae. Such studies may reveal the relative contribution to trends in dental evolution of biases in the generation of variation and sorting of this variation by selection or drift.