Embryonic xanthophore fate in the zebrafish, Danio rerio
McCann, Anna Elizabeth
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Pigment patterns are one of the most diverse and visually appealing traits of any animal, playing important behavioral and ecological roles in mate choice, shoaling and predator avoidance. In the zebrafish, <italic>Danio rerio</italic>, these patterns result from the organization of neural crest derived pigment cells, offering an opportunity to study mechanisms of fate specification and pattern formation. While recent studies in <italic>D. rerio</italic> examine interactions between black melanophores, yellow xanthophores, and iridescent iridophores during adult pattern formation, little is known about the development of the individual pigment cell lineages, particularly yellow xanthophores. Here, I found that embryonic xanthophores de-differentiate at the start of pigment pattern metamorphosis, yet persist into the adult where some redifferentiate as xanthophores and others remain in an undifferentiated state. The undifferentiated cells that remain are competent to differentiate as xanthophores, but not melanophores, suggesting these cells are fate restricted to the xanthophore lineage. My results identify at least one origin of adult xanthophores in the zebrafish thus contributing to the overall picture of pigment cell development, and more broadly, lending novel insight to neural crest lineage diversification.
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