This study investigated the morphology, pathogenesis, and inheritance of idiopathic
-like spinal curvature
in the guppy
To determine whether curveback
could be applied as a model
for the primary factors that contribute to heritable spinal curvature
in humans, specifically, the etiopathogenesis of human familial idiopathic scoliosis
Summary of Background Data.
Although a genetic
basis is accepted, phenotypic complexity and the lack of an animal model
with noninduced curvature
have made identification of idiopathic scoliosis
etiology difficult. It is well established that humans and fish share many genes with similar tissue and temporal expression characteristics, and comparisons between human and fish genomes have proven to be valuable for understanding the genetics of diseases affecting humans.
lineage of guppies was constructed from a single curved male crossed to a normal female. Offspring (103) from the original cross were scored from birth until death for the presence and magnitude of spinal curvature
architecture was investigated through selective inbreeding, analysis of the distribution of curve magnitude in the mature population, and assessment of curve dynamics during development
. Computed tomography assessed vertebral detail.
Computed tomography reveals that vertebral breakage or fusion is not associated with the curveback
syndrome. Inbreeding demonstrates a strong genetic
influence on curveback
, and the distribution of curve magnitude among adult fish suggests polygenic inheritance. There is a female bias for curves of high magnitude and curves that resolve before maturity. There is developmental variability for the age of curve onset, curve progression, and final curve magnitude.
Observed parallels between the curveback
syndrome and human idiopathic scoliosis
suggest that the guppy model
is an unexploited resource for the identification of primary etiological factors involved in curvature
. As models for biomedical research, teleosts offer great potential regarding spinal stability and deformity.