Transcriptome analysis of zebrafish embryogenesis using microarrays

PLoS Genet. 2005 Aug;1(2):260-76. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0010029. Epub 2005 Aug 26.


Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is a well-recognized model for the study of vertebrate developmental genetics, yet at the same time little is known about the transcriptional events that underlie zebrafish embryogenesis. Here we have employed microarray analysis to study the temporal activity of developmentally regulated genes during zebrafish embryogenesis. Transcriptome analysis at 12 different embryonic time points covering five different developmental stages (maternal, blastula, gastrula, segmentation, and pharyngula) revealed a highly dynamic transcriptional profile. Hierarchical clustering, stage-specific clustering, and algorithms to detect onset and peak of gene expression revealed clearly demarcated transcript clusters with maximum gene activity at distinct developmental stages as well as co-regulated expression of gene groups involved in dedicated functions such as organogenesis. Our study also revealed a previously unidentified cohort of genes that are transcribed prior to the mid-blastula transition, a time point earlier than when the zygotic genome was traditionally thought to become active. Here we provide, for the first time to our knowledge, a comprehensive list of developmentally regulated zebrafish genes and their expression profiles during embryogenesis, including novel information on the temporal expression of several thousand previously uncharacterized genes. The expression data generated from this study are accessible to all interested scientists from our institute resource database (