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January 22 2014

How the genetic blueprints for limbs came from fish


A study led by Denis Duboule shows that limbs emerged during evolution by modernisation of a preexisting DNA structure.

Our first four-legged land ancestor came out of the sea some 350 million years ago. Watching a lungfish, our closest living fish relative, crawl on its four pointed fins gives us an idea of what the first evolutionary steps on land probably looked like. However, the transitional path between fin structural elements in fish and limbs in tetrapods remains elusive.

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