In this paper, we use zebrafish embryos to characterise the transcriptome of the developing blood and endothelium, two cell types that are closely associated during development. High-throughput sequencing identified 754 genes whose transcripts are enriched threefold or more in blood and/or vascular endothelial cells compared with the rest of the embryo at 26-28 h post fertilisation. Of these genes, 388 were classified as novel to these cell types after cross-reference with PubMed and the zebrafish information network (ZFIN). Analysis by quantitative PCR and in situ hybridisation showed that 83% (n=41) of these novel genes are expressed in blood or vascular endothelium. Of 10 novel genes selected for knockdown by antisense morpholino oligonucleotides, we confirmed that two, tmem88a and trim2a, are required for primitive erythropoiesis and myelopoiesis. Our results provide a catalogue of genes whose expression is enriched in the developing blood and endothelium in zebrafish, many of which will be required for the development of those cell types, both in fish and in mammals.
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