Understanding and Editing the Zebrafish Genome

Adv Genet. 2015;92:1-52. doi: 10.1016/bs.adgen.2015.09.002. Epub 2015 Nov 12.


In the last two decades, zebrafish has become one of the fastest growing model organisms in terms of publications, however it has been plagued with the absence of a key tool in the genetics toolbox: the ability to systematically make targeted mutations in the genome. That all changed with the recent emergence of custom-built, sequence-specific nucleases, i.e., zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs), TAL-effector nucleases (TALENs), or clustered regulatory interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/Cas9. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of the application of these genome-editing tools to generate targeted knockout and knock-in mutants in zebrafish. These technologies have allowed us to transition from targeted knockouts in zebrafish being a difficult, resource intensive undertaking, to something that can be done in virtually any lab with modest molecular biology experience. Furthermore, this review provides a comprehensive listing of genetic and genomic resources and online tools that zebrafish researchers can use to help find a desired mutation or design effective ZFNs, TALENs, or CRISPR guide RNAs for their targeting experiments.

Keywords: CRISPR/Cas9; Genomics; Resources; Tal-effector nucleases; Targeted mutagenesis; Zebrafish; Zinc finger nucleases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems
  • Gene Knock-In Techniques
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Gene Targeting / methods*
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Genome
  • Models, Animal
  • Zebrafish / genetics*