Fish Fins

Fish fins forming limbs found, according to articles in BBC Science Focus and ScienceDaily 4 February 2021 and Cell 4 February 2021 doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.01.003.

Scientists at Harvard and Boston Children’s Hospital have found mutations of two genes that result in the formation of extra bones in the pectoral (front) fins of zebrafish.  Zebrafish are ray-finned fish who’s fins normally have a row of small rounded bones and a row of long bones arranged side by side in a fan shape.  Mutations of two genes named waslb and vav2 result in the fin having one more of the small rounded bones, and two of the long bones replaced by two bones arranged end to end.  (See diagram in BBC article – link below.) 

The researchers claim this arrangement is like limb bones in land dwelling animals that have long bones arranged end to end in their arms and legs.  They concluded: “Our findings reveal a latent, limb-like pattern ability in fins that is activated by simple genetic perturbation.” 

The BBC article commented: “The scientists were not able to establish whether the new bones in the mutant zebrafish would impact on the locomotion of the fish, but that will be the next step in the research.”  Matthew Harris, one of the researchers, commented: “It’d be very interesting to see, for example, if we put our mutant on a platform, whether they would have an adjusted gait.”

Links: BBC, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment:  Now for the rest of this fish story!  The extra bones are formed by two of the long bones splitting in two during their development.  Also, the neat row of uniformly sized small round bones has turned into an irregular row of variable sized bones.  There is no indication these changes would help the fish walk on land.  We predict that if the mutant zebrafish were placed on a platform they would just wriggle around like any fish out of water. 

The use of the term “adjusted gait” shows the evolutionary assumptions being applied to this finding.  “Gait” is a term used to describe a pattern of walking.  Zebrafish do not walk, and there is no indication these mutant fish have been trying to do so.  All that has happened here is a degenerate muddling of what originally was a neat, well designed fin formation.

Creation Research News 25 February 2021

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