New publication out today in Current Biology. This was a collaboration with with the Harris, Lovejoy and Iovine labs where we intersect forward genetics in zebrafish and comparative genomics to identify a role for amino acid transport and potassium channel activity in regulating fin size in fishes. We map the long-mysterious longfin zebrafish mutant to an inversion of chr2 that results in ectopic overexpression of kcnh2a in fins. We also find evidence for convergent molecular evolution in the amino acid transporter lat4a in flying fishes and show that a simple combination of dominant lat4a and kcnh2a alleles is sufficient to replicate the flying fish fin bauplan. Simple genetic mechanisms can have major impacts on fin allometry - this may underlie the large degree of natural variation observed in fin proportions. Check it out the article here: Modulation of bioelectric cues in the evolution of flying fishes or at the Current Biology website.
For epic footage of flying fishes in action, check out this video from BBC