Fin length in the zebrafish is achieved by the distal addition of bony segments of the correct length. Genetic and molecular data provided evidence that segment growth uses a single pulse of growth, followed by a period of stasis. Examination of cell proliferation during segment growth was predicted to expose a graphical model consistent with a single burst of cell division (e.g., constant, parabolic, or exponential decay) during the lengthening of the distal-most segment. Cell proliferation was detected either by labeling animals with bromodeoxyuridine (during S-phase) or monitoring histone3-phosphate (mitosis). Results from both methods revealed that the number of proliferating cells fluctuates in apparent pulses as a segment grows (i.e., during the growth phase). Thus, rather than segment size being the result of a single burst of proliferation, it appears that segment growth is the result of several pulses of cell division that occur approximately every 60 microns (average segment length approximately 250 microns). These results indicate that segment lengthening requires multiple pulses of cell proliferation.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.