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Genetics – From Egg to Organism

Banner - Genetics
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard
Heike Heth
+49 7071 601-489
+49 7071 601-384
Alphabetical List


The zebrafish is a vertebrate model organism in which many aspects of development can be analyzed by a variety of powerful methods inclu­ding genetics. The skin and its structures such as scales and fins and the striped pigmentation pattern are responsible for the shape and appea­rance of the adult zebrafish. These are the structures that differ among species much more than the embryonic structures and distinguish even closely related fish species.
We are investigating the genetic basis for the formation of the adult structures that arise during juvenile develop­ment with the aim to understand the genetic basis of morphological va­riation in evolution. In a large scale mutagenesis experiment, we identified genes that specifically affect skull, scales, fins and the striped pigment pattern of adult fishes. Scales and fins arise during juvenile development from thi­ckenings in the dermis that form bony plates or rays. We cloned several scaleless mutants and found that in two cases they encode members of a common pathway, the EDA pathway that is required specifically du­ring juvenile development to form the adult structures.



Neural Crest Development
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard
Pigment Pattern Formation
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard
Localization of RNA during Drosophila Oogenesis
Uwe Irion
Neural Development and Wiring
Christian Söllner


Former Work Groups
Genetic Analysis of the Development of Adult Structures
Matthew Harris
Dept of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
Sex Determination and Gonad Differentiation in the Zebrafish
Kellee Siegfried
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA
Epidermis Development
Mahendra Sonawane
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India