Background: Anterior eye development has been explored in different vertebrate species ranging from fish to mammals. However, missing from this diverse group is a representative of reptiles. A promising candidate to fill this void is the brown anole, Anolis sagrei, which is easily raised in the laboratory and for which genome editing techniques exist. Here we provide a detailed histological analysis of the development of the anterior structures of the eye in A. sagrei, which include the cornea, iris, ciliary body, lens, trabecular meshwork, and sclera ossicles. Results: Development of the anterior segment in Anoles proceeds as for other vertebrates with the lens forming first followed by the cornea, then the iris, ciliary body, trabecular meshwork, and sclera ossicles. The onset of these latter structures occurs first temporally than nasally. Unlike the eyes of mammals and birds, anoles possess a remarkably thin cornea, flat ciliary body, and a trabecular meshwork that lacks an obvious Schlemm's canal. Conclusions: This study highlights several features present in anoles and represents an important step towards understanding reptile eye development.
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