Sunday, 6 April 2014

Possible Genetic Link Discovered Between Cavefish And Human Facial Asymmetries

April 5, 2014

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online

A newly-identified genetic association with facial asymmetry in ancient cavefish could shed new light into mysteries surrounding conditions such as cleft palate or hemifacial microsomia in humans, according to research appearing in a recent edition of the peer-reviewed journal Genetics.

Joshua Gross, an assistant professor in the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Biological Sciences, and his colleagues compared the craniofacial features of the Astyanax mexicanus, an eyeless fish that has lived in the dark caves of Mexico’s Sierra de El Abra region for millions of years, with related fish living in Mexico, Texas and New Mexico.

The cavefish are said to be extremely sensitive to sound and vibration, and while they have no eyes, they do possess bony features in their eye regions that are similar to their sighted, surface-dwelling relatives. Those similarities allowed Gross and his fellow investigators to compare traits in both the cavefish and the surface-dwellers.

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