New Publication: Cephalic muscle development in the Australian lungfish, Neoceratodus forsteri

Fig. 4 Levatores arcuum branchialium LZW 29Oct17 copy
Neoceratodus forsteri, develoment of branchial arch muscles. Top row: Sagittal sections; Levatores arcuum branchialium I-V (LAB I-V) attaching to ceratobranchiales (CB) I-V (anterior is left; stage 52/53) . Bottom row: Branchial arch muscles in in a juvenile N. forsteri, diceCT images, sagittal images; LAB (I-V) (anterior is left). See publication for details of histological staining; scale bars are 1 mm.

“Our current understanding of development and evolution of head and neck musculature in vertebrates is often based on studies in a few model organisms that might or might not be at relevant positions on a phylogenetic tree to highlight key changes from a primitive to a derived character. Lungfishes, like the Australian Lungfish, are at one such relevant position as their anatomy and ontogeny can help us to understand the changes that occurred during thewater to land transition. Methods, like diceCT, that allow us to analyze in detail the anatomy of species without destructive dissections are of increasing value as they not only to reduce the amount of specimens needed to investigate but also allow the 3D visualization of complex structures, which in turn enables us to make more precise predictions about functional changes due to differences of muscles attachments at different stages of development. Comparisons of developmental changes with differences observed during the evolution of vertebrate species will then allow us to identify highly conserved or less restricted mechanisms that play a role during the evolution of diverse species from fish to humans.”

–authors, Alice ClementJanine Ziermann (@)

Read more about Australian lungfish at the Journal of Morphology and see more work like this on ResearchGate and at PLOS ONE!


New Publication: Vomeronasal and Olfactory Structures in Bats Revealed by DiceCT Clarify Genetic Evidence of Function

3D Bat Vomeronasal Organs
Coronal sections of the posterior region of the nasal cavity comparing diceCT scans and 3D reconstructions in bats (frontoturbinal is light green; interturbinals are dark green, ethmoturbinal I is yellow; ethmoturbinal II is light blue; and ethmoturbinal III is teal; see publication for abbreviations.)

“Bats demonstrate one of the most impressive stories of independent loss of the vomeronasal organ, a specialized nasal pheromone-sensing system in mammals. We were surprised to learn of a loss-of-function mutation in a vomeronasal-specific gene within a clade of Caribbean nectar-feeding bats, as many of their mainland relatives maintain function of the gene and organ—but the morphology was not known for this clade. DiceCT permitted us to peek inside the heads of these bats and characterize the nasal soft tissues, including the first 3D reconstruction of a vomeronasal organ, a structure only thought visible through histology. We discovered that Caribbean nectarivorous bats indeed have lost or reduced the vomeronasal organ and possess more elaborate olfactory turbinals. Complete loss of morphology likely occurred prior to complete genetic loss of function revealing a deeper understanding of the process of vestigalization.”

– co-lead authors, Laurel Yohe (@) & Simone Hoffmann (@)

Head over to Frontiers in Neuroanatomy to read the pub and see more research on Twitter!