Behaviour and aeration of the respiratory system in the domestic fowl embryo.
1. The monitoring of developmental stage and under-water dissection were used to examine the initial aeration of the respiratory system in domestic fowl embryos. 2. A virtually complete absence of free air within the chorioallantois was found before the beak had begun to make 'beak-clapping' movements, even when the membranes were already draped over its tip. 3. During the 'beak-clapping' stage, but before the membranes were pierced and before respiratory movements had begun, many embryos were found to contain free bubbles of air within the trachea and air sacs. 4. All embryos in which the respiratory system was aerated were found also to have froth in the crop or other parts of the digestive system. 5. Air was found in both the respiratory and digestive systems of all embryos examined after membrane penetration by the beak. 6. When air was injected into the chorioallantois before the stage of initial aeration it was recovered 5 min later from both the respiratory and digestive systems in under-water dissections. 7. It is suggested that lung ventilation takes place in the avian embryo in three distinct stages: the major air-ways become aerated, then respiratory movements begin and lastly the tertiary bronchi are slowly aerated. It is suggested also that movements involved in the imbibing of fluids play a part in aeration before the membranes are pierced. (+info)
The role of sonic hedgehog in normal and abnormal craniofacial morphogenesis.
There is growing evidence that implicates a role for Sonic hedgehog (SHH) in morphogenesis of the craniofacial complex. Mutations in human and murine SHH cause midline patterning defects that are manifested in the head as holoprosencephaly and cyclopia. In addition, teratogens such as jervine, which inhibit the response of tissues to SHH, also produce cyclopia. Thus, the loss of SHH signaling during early stages of neural plate patterning has a profound influence of craniofacial morphogenesis. However, the severity of these defects precludes analyses of SHH function during later stages of craniofacial development. We have used an embryonic chick system to study the role of SHH during these later stages of craniofacial development. Using a combination of surgical and molecular experiments, we show here that SHH is essential for morphogenesis of the frontonasal and maxillary processes (FNP and MXPs), which give rise to the mid- and upper face. Transient loss of SHH signaling in the embryonic face inhibits growth of the primordia and results in defects analogous to hypotelorism and cleft lip/palate, characteristics of the mild forms of holoprosencephaly. In contrast, excess SHH leads to a mediolateral widening of the FNP and a widening between the eyes, a condition known as hypertelorism. In severe cases, this widening is accompanied by facial duplications. Collectively, these experiments demonstrate that SHH has multiple and profound effects on the entire spectrum of craniofacial development, and perturbations in SHH signaling are likely to underlie a number of human craniofacial anomalies. (+info)
Electron microscopical observations of psittacine beak and feather disease in an Umbrella cockatoo (Cacatua alba).
Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) was diagnosed in an umbrella cockatoo (Cacatua alba) with severe feather dystrophy and loss. Electron microscopically, the intranuclear and intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies observed by light microscopy were composed of viral particles forming paracrystalline arrays, whorls, semicircles or concentric circles. Recovered viral particles from the skin and feather follicle tracts were icosahedral and 15 to 20 nm in diameter. (+info)
Vocal tract function in birdsong production: experimental manipulation of beak movements.
Kinematic analyses have demonstrated that the extent to which a songbird's beak is open when singing correlates with the acoustic frequencies of the sounds produced, suggesting that beak movements function to modulate the acoustic properties of the vocal tract during song production. If motions of the beak are necessary for normal song production, then disrupting the ability of a bird to perform these movements should alter the acoustic properties of its song. We tested this prediction by comparing songs produced normally by white-throated sparrows and swamp sparrows with songs produced when the beak was temporarily immobilized. We also observed how temporarily loading the beak of canaries with extra mass affected vocal tract movements and song production. Disruption of vocal tract movements resulted in the predicted frequency-dependent amplitude changes in the songs of both white-throated sparrows and swamp sparrows. Canaries with mass added to their beak sang with their beak open more widely than normal and produced notes with greater harmonic content than those without weights. Both manipulations resulted in acoustic changes consistent with a model in which beak motions affect vocal tract resonances, thus supporting the hypothesis that dynamic vocal tract motions and post-production modulation of sound are necessary features of normal song production. (+info)
Evidence for ecological causation of sexual dimorphism in a hummingbird.
Unambiguous examples of ecological causes of animal sexual dimorphism are rare. Here we present evidence for ecological causation of sexual dimorphism in the bill morphology of a hummingbird, the purple-throated carib. This hummingbird is the sole pollinator of two Heliconia species whose flowers correspond to the bills of either males or females. Each sex feeds most quickly at the flower species approximating its bill dimensions, which supports the hypothesis that floral specialization has driven the evolution of bill dimorphism. Further evidence for ecological causation of sexual dimorphism was provided by a geographic replacement of one Heliconia species by the other and the subsequent development of a floral dimorphism, with one floral morph matching the bills of males and the other of females. (+info)
Choreography of song, dance and beak movements in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).
As do many songbirds, zebra finches sing their learned songs while performing a courtship display that includes movements of the body, head and beak. The coordination of these display components was assessed by analyzing video recordings of courting males. All birds changed beak aperture frequently within a single song, and each individual's pattern of beak movements was consistent from song to song. Birds that copied their father's songs reproduced many of the changes in beak aperture associated with particular syllables. The acoustic consequences of opening the beak were increases in amplitude and peak frequency, but not in fundamental frequency, of song syllables. The change in peak frequency is consistent with the hypothesis that an open beak results in a shortened vocal tract and thus a higher resonance frequency. Dance movements (hops and changes in body or head position) were less frequent, and the distribution of dance movements within the song was not as strongly patterned as were changes in beak aperture, nor were the peaks in the distribution as strongly marked. However, the correlation between the positioning of dance movements within fathers' and sons' songs was striking, suggesting that the choreography of dance patterns is transmitted from tutor to pupil together with the song. (+info)
Connexin43 gap junction protein plays an essential role in morphogenesis of the embryonic chick face.
Normal outgrowth and fusion of facial primordia during vertebrate development require interaction of diverse tissues and co-ordination of many different signalling pathways. Gap junction channels, made up of subunits consisting of connexin proteins, facilitate communication between cells and are implicated in embryonic development. Here we describe the distribution of connexin43 and connexin32 gap junction proteins in the developing chick face. To test the function of connexin43 protein, we applied antisense oligodeoxynucleotides that specifically reduced levels of connexin43 protein in cells of early chick facial primordia. This resulted in stunting of primordia outgrowth and led to facial defects. Furthermore, cell proliferation in regions of facial primordia that normally express high levels of connexin43 protein was reduced and this was associated with lower levels of Msx-1 expression. Facial defects arise when retinoic acid is applied to the face of chick embryos at later stages. This treatment also resulted in significant reduction in connexin43 protein, while connexin32 protein expression was unaffected. Taken together, these results indicate that connexin43 plays an essential role during early morphogenesis and subsequent outgrowth of the developing chick face. (+info)
Clade-specific morphological diversification and adaptive radiation in Hawaiian songbirds.
The Hawaiian honeycreepers are a dramatic example of adaptive radiation but contrast with the four other songbird lineages that successfully colonized the Hawaiian archipelago and failed to undergo similar diversification. To explore the processes that produced the diversity dichotomy in this insular fauna, we compared clade age and morphological diversity between the speciose honeycreepers and the comparatively depauperate Hawaiian thrushes. Mitochondrial-DNA-based genetic distances between these Hawaiian clades and their continental sister taxa indicate that the ancestral thrush colonized the Hawaiian Islands as early as the common ancestor of the honeycreepers. This similar timing of colonization indicates that the marked difference in diversity between the Hawaiian honeycreeper and thrush clades is unlikely to result from differences in these clades' tenures within the archipelago. If time cannot explain the contrasting diversities of these taxa, then an intrinsic, clade-specific trait may have fostered the honeycreeper radiation. As the honeycreepers have diversified most dramatically in morphological characters related to resource utilization, we used principal components analyses of bill characters to compare the magnitudes of morphological variation in the ancestral clades from which the Hawaiian honeycreeper and thrush lineages are derived, the Carduelini and Turdinae respectively. Although the Carduelini share a more recent common ancestor and have a lower species diversity than the Turdinae, these finch-like relatives of the honeycreepers exhibit significantly greater variation in bill morphology than do the continental relatives of the Hawaiian thrushes. The higher magnitude of morphological variation in the non-Hawaiian Carduelini suggests that the honeycreepers fall within a clade exhibiting a generally high evolutionary flexibility in bill morphology. Accordingly, although the magnitude of bill variation among the honeycreepers is similar to that of the entire passerine radiation, this dramatic morphological radiation represents an extreme manifestation of a general clade-specific ability to evolve novel morphologies. (+info)