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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2003 Feb;14(1):11-8.

The zebrafish as a tool for understanding the biology of visual disorders.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DY, UK.


Retinal degenerations are the commonest cause of blindness in the Western world, affecting 5% of the population, yet remain largely untreatable. A better understanding of the mechanisms of disease is needed. Zebrafish fill a gap in the current repertoire of models, offering genetic tractability in a vertebrate. Their retina has many similarities with a human retina. Importantly, unlike rodents, they have rich colour vision, offering the potential to model the macular degenerations. A variety of physiological assays, genetic manipulations and histological tools have been developed and useful models of human disease created.

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