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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
 
 
 

Cranial nerves of the coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae [Osteichthyes: Sarcopterygii: Actinistia], and comparisons with other craniata.

We reconstructed the cranial nerves of a serially sectioned prenatal coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae. This allowed us to correct several mistakes in the literature and to make broad phylogenetic comparisons with other craniates. The genera surveyed in our phylogenetic analysis were Eptatretus, Myxine, Petromyzon, Lampetra, Chimaera, Hydrolagus, Squalus, Mustelus, Polypterus, Acipenser, Lepisosteus, Amia, Neoceratodus, Protopterus, Lepidosiren, Latimeria and Ambystoma. Cladistic analysis of our data shows that Latimeria shares with Ambystoma two characters of the cranial nerves. Our chief findings are: 1) Latimeria possesses an external nasal papilla and pedunculated olfactory bulbs but lacks a discrete terminal nerve. In other respects its olfactory system resembles the plesiomorphic pattern for craniates. 2) The optic nerve is plicated, a character found in many but not all gnathostomes. Latimeria retains an interdigitated partial decussation of the optic nerves, a character found in all craniates surveyed. 3) The oculomotor nerve supplies the same extrinsic eye muscles as in lampreys and gnathostomes. As in gnathostomes generally, Latimeria has a ciliary ganglion but its cells are located intracranially in the root of the oculomotor nerve, and their processes reach the eye via oculomotor and profundal rami. 4) The trochlear nerve supplies the superior oblique muscle as in all craniates that have not secondarily reduced the eye and its extrinsic musculature. 5) The profundal ganglion and ramus are entirely separate from the trigeminal system, with no exchange of fibers. This character has an interesting phylogenetic distribution: in hagfishes, lampreys, lungfishes and tetrapods, the profundal and trigeminal ganglia are fused, whereas in other taxa surveyed the ganglia are separate. The principal tissues innervated by the profundal nerve are the membranous walls of the tubes of the rostral organ. 6) As in lampreys and gnathostomes, the trigeminal nerve has maxillary and mandibular rami. Unlike all other gnathostomes surveyed, the trigeminal nerve of Latimeria lacks a sizable superficial ophthalmic ramus. Thus, Latimeria lacks the well-developed superficial ophthalmic complex reported in most other fishes. As in gnathostomes generally, the maxillary ramus of the trigeminal nerve fuses with the buccal ramus of the anterodorsal lateral line nerve to form the buccal+maxillary complex. We reject the term 'Gasserian ganglion', which is often applied to the fused profundal and trigeminal ganglion of tetrapods. 7) The abducent nerve innervates not only the lateral rectus muscle (a character common to myopterygians) but also the basicranial muscle. As we previously reported, it is probable that the basicranial muscle of Latimeria is homologous to the ocular retracter muscle of amphibians.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]

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