Zebrafish craniofacial, skeletal, and tooth development closely resembles that of higher vertebrates. Our goal is to identify viable adult zebrafish mutants that can be used as models for human mineralized craniofacial, dental, and skeletal system disorders. We used a large-scale forward-genetic chemical N-ethyl-nitroso-urea mutagenesis screen to identify 17 early lethal homozygous recessive mutants with defects in craniofacial cartilage elements, and 7 adult homozygous recessive mutants with mineralized tissue phenotypes including craniofacial shape defects, fused sutures, dysmorphic or missing skeletal elements, scoliosis, and neural arch defects. One mutant displayed both an early lethal homozygous phenotype and an adult heterozygous phenotype. These results extend the utility of the zebrafish model beyond the embryo to study human bone and cartilage disorders.
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