We identified four zebrafish mutants with defects in forebrain induction and patterning during embryogenesis. The four mutants define three genes: masterblind (mbl), silberblick (slb), and knollnase (kas). In mbl embryos, the anterior forebrain acquires posterior forebrain characteristics: anterior structures such as the eyes, olfactory placodes and the telencephalon are missing, whereas the epiphysis located in the posterior forebrain is expanded. In slb embryos, the extension of the embryonic axis is initially delayed and eventually followed by a partial fusion of the eyes. Finally, in kas embryos, separation of the telencephalic primordia is incomplete and dorsal midline cells fail to form a differentiated roof plate. Analysis of the mutant phenotypes indicates that we have identified genes essential for the specification of the anterior forebrain (mbl), positioning of the eyes (slb) and differentiation of the roof plate (kas). In an appendix to this study we list mutants showing alterations in the size of the eyes and abnormal differentiation of the lenses.
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