Formation of the liver in zebrafish has been analyzed during normal embryogenesis using ceruloplasmin (Cp) as a specific marker. The asymmetric expression of Cp has been detected in dorsal endoderm at 16 hpf and later in the early hepatic cells in the yolk sac. The liver primordium can be detected after 32 hpf. In oep-/- mutant, which lacks dorsal endoderm, the liver fails to form. In the notochordless flh-/- mutant, the asymmetry of the liver has been lost. Therefore the notochord, dorsal endoderm and endoderm of the yolk sac play a role in liver formation in zebrafish.