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1.  Otx2 expression and implications for olfactory imprinting in the anemonefish, Amphiprion percula 
Biology Open  2013;2(9):907-915.
Summary
The otx2 gene encodes a transcription factor (OTX2) essential in the formation of the brain and sensory systems. Specifically, OTX2-positive cells are associated with axons in the olfactory system of mice and otx2 is upregulated in odour-exposed zebrafish, indicating a possible role in olfactory imprinting. In this study, otx2 was used as a candidate gene to investigate the molecular mechanisms of olfactory imprinting to settlement cues in the coral reef anemonefish, Amphiprion percula. The A. percula otx2 (Ap-otx2) gene was elucidated, validated, and its expression tested in settlement-stage A. percula by exposing them to behaviourally relevant olfactory settlement cues in the first 24 hours post-hatching, or daily throughout the larval phase. In-situ hybridisation revealed expression of Ap-otx2 throughout the olfactory epithelium with increased transcript staining in odour-exposed settlement-stage larval fish compared to no-odour controls, in all scenarios. This suggests that Ap-otx2 may be involved in olfactory imprinting to behaviourally relevant settlement odours in A. percula.
doi:10.1242/bio.20135496
PMCID: PMC3773337  PMID: 24143277
Olfaction; Coral reef fish; Habitat selection; Memory; Candidate gene; In-situ hybridisation
2.  Shaping muscle bioarchitecture for the fin to limb transition 
Bioarchitecture  2012;2(3):98-103.
Our recent paper examined how pelvic fins and their musculature form developmentally and how these mechanisms have evolved within the vertebrate lineage, a process fundamental to the tetrapod transition. The transition from the water onto the land is among one of the most well studied steps in the evolutionary history of vertebrates, yet the genetic basis of this evolutionary transition is little studied and ill-defined. The advent of these terrestrial species resulted in a shift in locomotor strategies from the rhythmic undulating muscles of the fish body to a reliance upon powerful weight bearing muscles of the limbs to generate movement. We demonstrated that the pelvic fin muscles of bony fish are generated by a mechanism that has features of both of limb/fin muscle formation in tetrapods and primitive cartilaginous fish. We hypothesize that the adoption of the fully derived mode of hindlimb muscle formation, was a further modification of the mode of development deployed to generate pelvic fin muscles, a shift in overall muscle bioarchitecture we believe was critical to the success of the tetrapod transition.
doi:10.4161/bioa.20969
PMCID: PMC3414388  PMID: 22880150
muscle; evolution; fin; limb; zebrafish; tetrapod
3.  Development and Evolution of the Muscles of the Pelvic Fin 
PLoS Biology  2011;9(10):e1001168.
Locomotor strategies in terrestrial tetrapods have evolved from the utilisation of sinusoidal contractions of axial musculature, evident in ancestral fish species, to the reliance on powerful and complex limb muscles to provide propulsive force. Within tetrapods, a hindlimb-dominant locomotor strategy predominates, and its evolution is considered critical for the evident success of the tetrapod transition onto land. Here, we determine the developmental mechanisms of pelvic fin muscle formation in living fish species at critical points within the vertebrate phylogeny and reveal a stepwise modification from a primitive to a more derived mode of pelvic fin muscle formation. A distinct process generates pelvic fin muscle in bony fishes that incorporates both primitive and derived characteristics of vertebrate appendicular muscle formation. We propose that the adoption of the fully derived mode of hindlimb muscle formation from this bimodal character state is an evolutionary innovation that was critical to the success of the tetrapod transition.
Author Summary
The transition of vertebrates from water to land is a fundamental step in the evolution of terrestrial life. Innovations that were critical to this transition were the evolution of a weight bearing pelvis, hindlimbs and their associated musculature, and the development of the “rear wheel drive” strategy that predominates in terrestrial locomotion. The fossil record can reveal how the skeletal framework of the load-bearing limbs of tetrapods (animals descended from fish) has evolved, but as soft tissues are rarely preserved within the fossil record, it can shed little light on how the accompanying dramatic alterations of the limb musculature arose developmentally. To examine this question we determined the mechanisms that generate fin muscles within larvae of living species representing several clades of fish across the vertebrate phylogeny. Using this comparative approach and a novel somite transplantation technique in zebrafish, we determine that the pelvic fin muscles of bony fish are generated by a bimodal mechanism that has features of limb/fin muscle formation in tetrapods and primitive cartilaginous fish. Using these data, we propose a unifying evolutionary hypothesis on the origins of the muscle of the paired fins and limbs, and speculate that the adoption of tetrapod mode of hindlimb muscle formation was also an evolutionary innovation critical to the success of the tetrapod transition.
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001168
PMCID: PMC3186808  PMID: 21990962
4.  FishNet: an online database of zebrafish anatomy 
BMC Biology  2007;5:34.
Background
Over the last two decades, zebrafish have been established as a genetically versatile model system for investigating many different aspects of vertebrate developmental biology. With the credentials of zebrafish as a developmental model now well recognized, the emerging new opportunity is the wider application of zebrafish biology to aspects of human disease modelling. This rapidly increasing use of zebrafish as a model for human disease has necessarily generated interest in the anatomy of later developmental phases such as the larval, juvenile, and adult stages, during which many of the key aspects of organ morphogenesis and maturation take place. Anatomical resources and references that encompass these stages are non-existent in zebrafish and there is therefore an urgent need to understand how different organ systems and anatomical structures develop throughout the life of the fish.
Results
To overcome this deficit we have utilized the technique of optical projection tomography to produce three-dimensional (3D) models of larval fish. In order to view and display these models we have created FishNet http://www.fishnet.org.au, an interactive reference of zebrafish anatomy spanning the range of zebrafish development from 24 h until adulthood.
Conclusion
FishNet contains more than 36 000 images of larval zebrafish, with more than 1 500 of these being annotated. The 3D models can be manipulated on screen or virtually sectioned. This resource represents the first complete embryo to adult atlas for any species in 3D.
doi:10.1186/1741-7007-5-34
PMCID: PMC2031877  PMID: 17705855

Results 1-4 (4)