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Mech Dev. 2000 Oct;97(1-2):133-9.

A genetic screen for mutations affecting embryonic development in medaka fish (Oryzias latipes).

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SFB 271 Junior Group, c/o Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Am, 37077 Göttingen, Fassberg, Germany.


In a pilot screen, we assayed the efficiency of ethylnitrosourea (ENU) as a chemical mutagen to induce mutations that lead to early embryonic and larval lethal phenotypes in the Japanese medaka fish, Oryzias latipes. ENU acts as a very efficient mutagen inducing mutations at high rates in germ cells. Three repeated treatments of male fish in 3 mM ENU for 1 h results in locus specific mutation rates of 1.1-1.95 x10(-3). Mutagenized males were outcrossed to wild type females and the F1 offspring was used to establish F2 families. F2 siblings were intercrossed and the F3 progeny was scored 24, 48 and 72 h after fertilization for morphological alterations affecting eye development. The presented mutant phenotypes were identified using morphological criteria and occur during early developmental stages of medaka. They are stably inherited in a Mendelian fashion. The high efficiency of ENU to induce mutations in this pilot screen indicates that chemical mutagenesis and screening for morphologically visible phenotypes in medaka fish allows the genetic analysis of specific aspects of vertebrate development complementing the screens performed in other vertebrate model systems.

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