Experimental transformation of muscle fiber properties in lobster

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Science  15 Sep 1978:
Vol. 201, Issue 4360, pp. 1037-1039
DOI: 10.1126/science.684425


Like the chelipeds, the claw closer muscles of the adult lobster are asymmetric (dipmorphic). In the crusher claw the closer muscle is composed entirely of slow fibers, and in the cutter claw it has 65 to 75 percent fast fibers and 25 to 35 percent slow fibers. While claw placement in the adult is essentially random, it can be demonstrated in two ways that the muscle fiber properties are not genetically fixed: (i) if one claw is removed in the fourth and early fifth stages, the remaining closer muscle develops all slow muscle fibers, and (ii) if the animals are raised in smooth-bottomed containers, both claws can become cutter types, having closer muscles with more than 50 percent fast fibers. Thus, as in vertebrate skeletal muscle, the properties of lobster closer muscle fibers can be transformed by various experimental manipulations.