The genome of the zebrafish — a key model organism for the study of development and human disease — has now been sequenced and published as a well-annotated reference genome. Zebrafish turns out to have the largest gene set of any vertebrate so far sequenced, and few pseudogenes. Importantly for disease studies, comparison between human and zebrafish sequences reveals that 70% of human genes have at least one obvious zebrafish orthologue. A second paper reports on an ongoing effort to identify and phenotype disruptive mutations in every zebrafish protein-coding gene. Using the reference genome sequence along with high-throughput sequencing and efficient chemical mutagenesis, the project's initial results — covering 38% of all known protein-coding genes — they describe phenotypic consequences of more than 1,000 alleles. The long-term goal is the creation of a knockout allele in every protein-coding gene in the zebrafish genome. All mutant alleles and data are freely available at go.nature.com/en6mos.
- A systematic genome-wide analysis of zebrafish protein-coding gene function (Letter p494, doi: 10.1038/nature11992)
- Zebrafish earns its stripes (News & Views p443, doi: 10.1038/nature12094)
- The zebrafish reference genome sequence and its relationship to the human genome OPEN (Letter p498, doi: 10.1038/nature12111)
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