What is it about?

Cavefish embryos initially develop eyes, but they subsequently degenerate and become vestigial structures embedded in the head. Our findings suggest that localized modifications in the circulatory system may have contributed to the evolution of vestigial eyes in cavefish. The reliance of eyes on oxygen, nutrients, or humoral factors provided by blood flow would explain why CF form eyes early in embryogenesis and eye regression begins later during larval development

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Why is it important?

Mexican cavefish are not only surviving with homocystinuria, they’re thriving. One thing we might be able to understand is how these fish recover from hemorrhages in the eye, which could provide insight into treatments for the disease in humans.

Perspectives

It will be interesting to determine whether the other genes contribute to the defective optic vasculature phenotype, or reveal additional changes involved in vestigial eye formation.

Ph.D. Li Ma
University of Maryland, College Park

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A hypomorphic cystathionine ß-synthase gene contributes to cavefish eye loss by disrupting optic vasculature, Nature Communications, June 2020, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16497-x.
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