Linking genes to brain, behavior and neurological diseases: what can we learn from zebrafish?

Genes Brain Behav. 2004 Apr;3(2):63-74. doi: 10.1046/j.1601-183x.2003.00053.x.


How our brain is wired and subsequently generates functional output, ranging from sensing and locomotion to emotion, decision-making and learning and memory, remains poorly understood. Dys-regulation of these processes can lead to neurodegenerative, as well as neuro-psychiatric, disorders. Molecular genetic together with behavioral analyses in model organisms identify genes involved in the formation of neuronal circuits, the execution of behavior and mechanisms involved in neuro-pathogenesis. In this review I will discuss the current progress and future potential for study in a newly established vertebrate model organism for genetics, the zebrafish Danio rerio. Where available, schemes and results of genetic screens will be reviewed concerning the sensory, motor and neuromodulatory monoamine systems. Genetic analyses in zebrafish have the potential to provide important insights into the relationship between genes, neuronal circuits and behavior in normal as well as diseased states.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Biogenic Monoamines / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Genetic Testing
  • Models, Animal
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / genetics*
  • Neuroimmunomodulation
  • Sensation / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Zebrafish / genetics*


  • Biogenic Monoamines