Genetic analysis of fin formation in the zebrafish, Danio rerio.
In the zebrafish, Danio rerio, a caudal and pectoral fin fold develop during embryogenesis. At larval stages the caudal fin fold is replaced by four different fins, the unpaired anal, dorsal and tail fins. In addition the paired pelvic fins are formed. We have identified a total of 118 mutations affecting larval fin formation. Mutations in 11 genes lead to abnormal morphology or degeneration of both caudal and pectoral fin folds. Most mutants survive to adulthood and form a surprisingly normal complement of adult fins. Mutations in nine genes result in an increased or reduced size of the pectoral fins. Interestingly, in mutants of one of these genes, dackel (dak), pectoral fin buds form initially, but later the fin epithelium fails to expand. Expression of sonic hedgehog mRNA in the posterior mesenchyme of the pectoral fin bud is initiated in dak embryos, but not maintained. Mutations in five other genes affect adult fin but not larval fin development. Two mutants, longfin (lof) and another longfin (alf) have generally longer fins. Stein und bein (sub) has reduced dorsal and pelvic fins, whereas finless (fls) and wanda (wan) mutants affect all adult fins. Finally, mutations in four genes causing defects in embryonic skin formation will be briefly reported.