Michael K. Richardson

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Snakes are limbless predators, and many species use venom to help overpower relatively large, agile prey. Snake venoms are complex protein mixtures encoded by several multilocus gene families that function synergistically to cause incapacitation. To examine venom evolution, we sequenced and interrogated the genome of a venomous snake, the king cobra(More)
The light/dark preference test is commonly used to assess anxiety-like phenotypes and validate the pharmacological effects of neuroactive compounds. This test has been recently adapted for adult zebrafish but has not yet been characterized and pharmacologically validated for young juvenile zebrafish. In the present study, we provide a detailed description(More)
The treefrog Eleutherodactylus coqui is a direct developer--it has no tadpole stage. The limb buds develop earlier than in metamorphosing species (indirect developers, such as Xenopus laevis). Previous molecular studies suggest that at least some mechanisms of limb development in E. coqui are similar to those of other vertebrates and we wished to see how(More)
Bone morphogenetic proteins are members of the transforming growth factor beta (TGF beta) superfamily which are involved in a range of developmental processes including modelling of the skeleton. We show here that Bmp-2 is expressed in mesenchyme surrounding early cartilage condensations in the developing chick limb, and that Bmp-4 is expressed in the(More)
Embryos of different species of vertebrate share a common organisation and often look similar. Adult differences among species become more apparent through divergence at later stages. Some authors have suggested that members of most or all vertebrate clades pass through a virtually identical, conserved stage. This idea was promoted by Haeckel, and has(More)
Among extant reptiles only two lineages are known to have evolved venom delivery systems, the advanced snakes and helodermatid lizards (Gila Monster and Beaded Lizard). Evolution of the venom system is thought to underlie the impressive radiation of the advanced snakes (2,500 of 3,000 snake species). In contrast, the lizard venom system is thought to be(More)
It is generally assumed that the characteristic deregionalized body plan of species with a snake-like morphology evolved through a corresponding homogenization of Hox gene expression domains along the primary axis. Here, we examine the expression of Hox genes in snake embryos and show that a collinear pattern of Hox expression is retained within the(More)
The current study provides a detailed description of the pattern of exploratory behaviors encountered in adult zebrafish when exposed to a novel/unfamiliar environment using the light/dark box and open field tests. We also document the impact of an acute stressor (restraint stress) given just prior the onset of behavioral testing. We report the following(More)
Mechanisms that mediate limb development are regarded as highly conserved among vertebrates, especially tetrapods. Yet, this assumption is based on the study of relatively few species, and virtually none of those that display any of a large number of specialized life-history or reproductive modes, which might be expected to affect developmental pattern or(More)