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Methods Enzymol. 2008;444:65-97. doi: 10.1016/S0076-6879(08)02804-8.

Chapter 4. Using the zebrafish to study vessel formation.

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Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


Danio rerio, commonly referred to as the zebrafish, is a powerful animal model for studying the formation of the vasculature. Zebrafish offer unique opportunities for in vivo analysis of blood and lymphatic vessels formation because of their accessibility to large-scale genetic and experimental analysis as well as the small size, optical clarity, and external development of zebrafish embryos and larvae. A wide variety of established techniques are available to study vessel formation in the zebrafish, from early endothelial cell differentiation to adult vessel patterning. In this chapter, we review methods used to functionally manipulate and visualize the vasculature in the zebrafish and illustrate how these methods have helped further understanding of the genetic components regulating formation and patterning of developing vessels.

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