Tissue regeneration requires not only the replacement of lost cells and tissues, but also the recreation of morphologies and patterns. Skin pigment pattern is a relatively simple system that can allow researchers to uncover the underlying mechanisms of pattern formation. To gain insight into how pigment patterns form, undergraduate students in the senior level course Developmental Biology designed an experiment that assayed pigment patterns in original and regenerated caudal fins of wild-type, striped, and mutant, spotted zebrafish. A majority of the WT fins regenerated with a similar striped pattern. In contrast, the pattern of spots even in the original fins of the mutants varied among individual fish. Similarly, the majority of the spots in the mutants did not regenerate with the same morphology, size, or spacing as the original fins. This was true even when only a small amount of fin was removed, leaving most of the fin to potentially reseed the pattern in the regenerating tissue. This suggests that the mechanism that creates the wild-type, striped pattern persists to recreate the pattern during regeneration. The mechanism that creates the spots in the mutants, however, must include an unknown element that introduces variability.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2016, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2016.