Zebrafish are members of the teleosts (ray-finned fishes) that constitute more than half of all extant vertebrate species. This remarkable radiation was likely helped by a whole genome duplication event that occurred at the base of the lineage. Functional redundancy of duplicated genes paves the way for interesting functional divergence, leading to experimental conditions where cell type specific genetic manipulations become feasible.
This favorable evolutionary scenario also has important ramification for the evolution of gene families. Using bioinformatic approaches we determine the phylogeny of selected gene families. This information will be the basis of laboratory experiments aiming to explain functionalization events in different vertebrate lineages.
Dr. Matthias Gesemann
Fleisch, VC, Schonthaler, H., v. Lintig, J, Neuhauss, SCF(2008). Subfunctionalization of a retinoid binding protein provides evidence for two parallel visual cycles in the cone-dominant zebrafish retina. Journal of Neuroscience 28:8208-16
Seiler C, Finger-Baier, KC, Rinner, O, Makhankov YV, Neuhauss, SCF, Nicolson, T (2005). Duplicated genes with slit functions: independent roles of protocadherin 15 orthologues in zebrafish hearing and vision. Development 132, 615-623