Biology and Evolution of the Mexican Cavefish features contributions by leading researchers in a comprehensive, unique work that examines a number of distinct areas of biology—evolution, development, ecology, and behavior—using the Mexican cavefish as a powerful model system to further understanding of basic biological processes such as eye degeneration, hearing, craniofacial development, sleep, and metabolic function.
These fish are currently being used to better understand a number of issues related to human health, including age-related blindness, sleep, obesity, mood-related disorders, and aging. The recent sequencing of the cavefish genome broadens the interest of this system to groups working with diverse biological systems, and has helped researchers identify genes that regulate sleep, eye degeneration, and metabolic function.
Mexican cavefish are particularly powerful for the study of biological processes because these fish evolved independently in twenty-nine caves in the Sierra de el Abra Region of Northeast Mexico. These fish have dramatic adaptations to the cave environment, and this can be used to identify genes involved in disease-related traits.
This scholarly text will be of interest to researchers and students throughout diverse areas of biology and ecology. It includes photographs of animals and behavior in laboratory and natural settings that will also increase interest and accessibility to non-experts.
Includes a mixture of images and illustrations such as the geographical distribution of cave pools and the developmental biology of the nervous systemFeatures a companion site with geographical maps Fills a notable gap in the literature on a topic of broad interest to the scientific communityPresents the recent sequencing of the cavefish genome as a groundbreaking development for researchers working with diverse biological systems
Chapter 1 - Cave Exploration and Mapping in the Sierra de El Abra Region, Pages 9-40
Chapter 2 - Hydrogeology of Caves in the Sierra de El Abra Region, Pages 41-58
Chapter 3 - Cave Biodiversity and Ecology of the Sierra de El Abra Region, Pages 59-76
Chapter 4 - Phylogeny and Evolutionary History of Astyanax mexicanus, Pages 77-90
Chapter 5 - Regressive Evolution: Testing Hypotheses of Selection and Drift, Pages 93-109
Chapter 6 - Mapping the Genetic Basis of Troglomorphy in Astyanax: How Far We Have Come and Where Do We Go from Here?, Pages 111-135
Chapter 7 - Selection Through Standing Genetic Variation, Pages 137-152
Chapter 8 - Pigment Regression and Albinism in Astyanax Cavefish, Pages 155-173
Chapter 9 - Molecular Mechanisms of Eye Degeneration in Cavefish, Pages 175-192
Chapter 10 - The Evolution of the Cavefish Craniofacial Complex, Pages 193-207
Chapter 11 - Evolution and Development of the Cavefish Oral Jaws: Adaptations for Feeding, Pages 209-225
Chapter 12 - Neural Development and Evolution in Astyanax mexicanus: Comparing Cavefish and Surface Fish Brains, Pages 227-244
Chapter 13 - The Evolution of Sensory Adaptation in Astyanax mexicanus, Pages 247-267
Chapter 14 - Feeding Behavior, Starvation Response, and Endocrine Regulation of Feeding in Mexican Blind Cavefish (Astyanax fasciatus mexicanus), Pages 269-290
Chapter 15 - Investigating the Evolution of Sleep in the Mexican Cavefish, Pages 291-308
Chapter 16 - Daily Rhythms in a Timeless Environment: Circadian Clocks in Astyanax mexicanus, Pages 309-333
Chapter 17 - Social Behavior and Aggressiveness in Astyanax, Pages 335-359
Chapter 18 - Spatial Mapping in Perpetual Darkness: EvoDevo of Behavior in Astyanax mexicanus Cavefish, Pages 361-376
Chapter 19 - Transgenesis and Future Applications for Cavefish Research, Pages 379-392
Concluding Remarks: The Astyanax Community, Pages 393-396