Genetic control of zebrafish embryogenesis
2424 Genetics-Biotech Center Bldg
425 Henry Mall
Madison, WI 53706
Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Cell Adhesion & Cytoskeleton
The goal of our research program is to understand at the cellular and molecular level processes involved in early vertebrate development, specifically but not exclusively the functional diversification of cell types. We use the zebrafish, Danio rerio, as a model system because it allows combining genetic, embryological and molecular approaches. In the zebrafish, as in many other animal species, all developmental processes that occur prior to the activation of the zygotic genome at the mid-blastula transition, as well as some processes that occur after this transition, are driven by maternal factors stored in the egg during oogenesis. We focus on the analysis of genes that produce such maternal factors and which are involved in cell fate decisions such as the determination of the germ line, the dorsal axis, and the embryonic germ layers. Because in the zebrafish the segregation of germ cell fate determinants is intimately linked to the process of cellular division, we also focus on the analysis of genes and subcellular events required for cytokinesis.