Mutations affecting development of the notochord in zebrafish

Derek L. Stemple, Lilianna Solnica-Krezel, Fried Zwartkruis, Stephan C.F. Neuhauss, Alexander F. Schier, Jarema Malicki, Didier Y.R. Stainier, Salim Abdelilah, Zehava Rangini, Elizabeth Mountcastle-Shah, Wolfgang Driever

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


The notochord is critical for the normal development of vertebrate embryos. It serves both as the major skeletal element of the embryo and as a signaling source for the establishment of pattern within the neurectoderm, the paraxial mesoderm and other tissues. In a large-scale systematic screen of mutations affecting embryogenesis in zebrafish we identified 65 mutations that fall into 29 complementation groups, each leading to a defect in the formation and/or maintenance of the notochord. These mutations produce phenotypic abnormalities at numerous stages of notochord development, thereby establishing a phenotypic pathway, which in turn suggests a genetic pathway for the development of the notochord. Perturbations within adjacent tissues in mutant embryos further indicate the importance of notochord-derived signals for patterning within the embryo and suggest that these mutations will yield additional insight into the cues that regulate these patterning processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-128
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 1996


  • Embryogenesis
  • Floor plate
  • Mesoderm
  • Notochord
  • Zebrafish


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