Fast, easy and early (larval) identification of transparent mutant zebrafish using standard fluorescence microscopy

F1000Res. 2020 Aug 10:9:963. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.22464.1. eCollection 2020.


The availability of transparent zebrafish mutants (either TraNac: tra b6/b6; nac w2/w2 or casper: roy a9/a9; nac w2/w2 ) for live imaging studies together with the ease of generating transgenic lines are two of the strengths of the zebrafish model organism. The fact that transparent casper ( roy a9/a9;nac w2/w2) and silver nacre ( nac w2/w2) mutants are indistinguishable by eye at early stages (1-5 days post-fertilization; dpf) means many fish must be raised and later culled if they are not transparent. To identify translucent mutants early and easily at the early larval stage (≤5 dpf) before they are classified as protected animals, we developed a simple screening method using standard fluorescence microscopy. We estimate that this procedure could annually save 60,000 animals worldwide.

Keywords: Zebrafish; casper; iridophore; nac; screening; tra; trab6/b6nacw2/w2; translucent; transparent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Larva / genetics
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Reference Standards
  • Zebrafish* / genetics

Grants and funding

This work was funded by the Imperial College President’s PhD scholarship and by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs; Grant reference number NC/N003446/1).