Fish and mammal teeth are not created equal. Sometime after the move from spineless to having a backbone, the family of genes that controls tissue mineralization evolved to produce mammalian tooth enamel, bones and dentine, but fish enameloid developed from different genes, according to Penn State researchers.
"We also suggest that mammalian enamel is distinct from fish enameloid," the researchers reported in this weeks online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "The similar nature as a hard structural overlay on exoskeleton and teeth is because of convergent evolution." The researchers include Dr. Kazuhiko Kawasaki, senior research associate and Dr. Kenneth W. Weiss, the Evan Pugh Professor of biological anthropology and genetics, Penn State and Tohru Suzuki, professor of agricultural science, Tohoku University, Japan.
While similar structures and traits are often similar because they come from the same genetic basis, it is not unusual to have physical traits that look alike and serve the same purpose, developed from completely unrelated genes.
Andrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
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