Large-scale mutagenesis screens have proved essential in the search for genes that are important to development in the fly, worm, and yeast. Here we present the power of large-scale screening in a vertebrate, the zebrafish Danio rerio, and propose the use of this genetic system to address fundamental questions of vertebrate developmental physiology. As an example, we focus on zebrafish mutations that reveal single genes essential for normal development of the cardiovascular system. These single gene mutations disrupt specific aspects of rate, rhythm, conduction, or contractility of the developing heart.

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Photo of Mark C. Fishman

Mark C. Fishman’s group studies the heart-brain connection. They employ a range of genetic, developmental, and neurobiological tools in zebrafish to understand what the heart tells the brain, and how critical internal sensory systems adjust homeostatic and somatic behaviors, including social interactions.

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