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

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2003 Feb;14(1):11-8. doi: 10.1016/s1084-9521(02)00167-2.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blindness / etiology
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques
  • Models, Animal
  • Retina / anatomy & histology
  • Retina / pathology
  • Retinal Degeneration / etiology
  • Vision Disorders / etiology*
  • Vision Disorders / genetics
  • Vision Disorders / pathology
  • Zebrafish / genetics
  • Zebrafish / physiology*