Studying rod photoreceptor development in zebrafish

A. C. Morris, J. M. Fadool

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The zebrafish has rapidly become a favored model vertebrate organism, well suited for studies of developmental processes using large-scale genetic screens. In particular, zebrafish morphological and behavioral genetic screens have led to the identification of genes important for development of the retinal photoreceptors. This may help clarify the genetic mechanisms underlying human photoreceptor development and dysfunction in retinal diseases. In this review, we present the advantages of zebrafish as a vertebrate model organism, summarize retinal and photoreceptor cell development in zebrafish, with emphasis on the rod photoreceptors, and describe zebrafish visual behaviors that can be used for genetic screens. We then describe some of the photoreceptor cell mutants that have been isolated in morphological and behavioral screens and discuss the limitations of current screening methods for uncovering mutations that specifically affect rod function. Finally, we present some alternative strategies to target the rod developmental pathway in zebrafish.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-313
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 15 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Mary Mullins, Michael Granato and their laboratory members for providing us with the embryos used in our pilot screen for rod photoreceptor mutants. This work was supported by NIH Grant EY13020.


  • Genetics
  • Retinal development
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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