Insights in spine evolution

Research from Duke University, USA, has revealed zebrafish as a useful model to study human spinal defects, such as scoliosis.

By studying zebrafish with a mutation that led to developmental issues in their spine, scientists saw that embryos of the mutant fish have a tiny change in their DNA.

This single-letter change in the DNA altered the way the zebrafish builds bones and other structures that make up their spine.

The team also realised that these animals look like the fossilised specimens of ancient fish.

“This work not only gave us a glimpse into spine evolution, but also made us understand how the spine is put together in mammals,” said Michel Bagnat, of Duke School of Medicine.

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