The zebrafish is one of the leading models for the analysis of the vertebrate visual system. A wide assortment of molecular, genetic, and cell biological approaches is available to study zebrafish visual system development and function. As new techniques become available, genetic analysis and imaging continue to be the strengths of the zebrafish model. In particular, recent developments in the use of transposons and zinc finger nucleases to produce new generations of mutant strains enhance both forward and reverse genetic analysis. Similarly, the imaging of developmental and physiological processes benefits from a wide assortment of fluorescent proteins and the ways to express them in the embryo. The zebrafish is also highly attractive for high-throughput screening of small molecules, a promising strategy to search for compounds with therapeutic potential. Here we discuss experimental approaches used in the zebrafish model to study morphogenetic transformations, cell fate decisions, and the differentiation of fine morphological features that ultimately lead to the formation of the functional vertebrate visual system.
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