Regressive evolution in Astyanax cavefish
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A diverse group of animals, including members of most major phyla, have adapted to life in the perpetual darkness of caves. These animals are united by the convergence of two regressive phenotypes, loss of eyes and pigmentation. The mechanisms of regressive evolution are poorly understood. The teleost Astyanax mexicanus is of special significance in studies of regressive evolution in cave animals. This species includes an ancestral surface dwelling form and many con-specific cave-dwelling forms, some of which have evolved their recessive phenotypes independently. Recent advances in Astyanax development and genetics have provided new information about how eyes and pigment are lost during cavefish evolution; namely, they have revealed some of the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in trait modification, the number and identity of the underlying genes and mutations, the molecular basis of parallel evolution, and the evolutionary forces driving adaptation to the cave environment.
Eye Degeneration, Loss Of Pigmentation, Albinism, Development, Genetics
Annual Review of Genetics, Vol. 43 (2009-07-29).
Jeffery, William R., "Regressive evolution in Astyanax cavefish" (2009). KIP Articles. 4993.