In recent years, the zebrafish has become a favourite model organism for biologists studying developmental processes in vertebrates. Its rapid embryonic development, the transparency of its embryos, the large number of offspring together with several other advantages make it ideal for discovering and understanding the genes that regulate embryonic development as well as the physiology of the adult organism. Zebrafish are very visually orientated, and their retina and lens show much the same morphology as other vertebrates including humans. For this reason, they are well suited for examining ocular development, function and disease. This review describes the advantages of the zebrafish as a model organism as well as giving an overview of eye development in this species. It has a particular focus on morphological as well as molecular aspects of the development of the lens.
Copyright 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel