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Dev Genet. 1997;20(3):288-95.

Mutations affecting eye morphology in the developing zebrafish (Danio rerio).

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Biological Laboratories, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


The zebrafish (Danio rerio) has received considerable attention as a mainstream model for the molecular and genetic study of vertebrate development. In our laboratory, we have conducted a third-generation screen of chemically mutagenized zebrafish for recessive mutations affecting the visual system. This report describes the visible phenotypes and number of morphological mutants so far observed and presents a more detailed histological analysis of six of these mutations. Through analysis of mutant larvae, it was determined that several of the subtle morphological mutations resulted in degeneration of specific cellular layers of the retina. Other mutations resulted in some degeneration distributed diffusely across the entire retina or concentrated at the retinal margin. A single mutation affecting invagination of the optic cup and lens vesicle formation resulted in a failure to develop an anterior chamber. These results demonstrate the utility of a small-scale, highly focused screen for uncovering novel loci involved in retinal and eye development.

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