Methods to study maternal regulation of germ cell specification in zebrafish

O. H. Kaufman, F. L. Marlow

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


The process by which the germ line is specified in the zebrafish embryo is under the control of maternal gene products that were produced during oogenesis. Zebrafish are highly amenable to microscopic observation of the processes governing maternal germ cell specification because early embryos are transparent, and the germ line is specified rapidly (within 4-5 h post fertilization). Advantages of zebrafish over other models used. to study vertebrate germ cell formation include their genetic tractability, the large numbers of progeny, and the easily manipulable genome, all of which make zebrafish an ideal system for studying the genetic regulators and cellular basis of germ cell formation and maintenance. Classical molecular biology techniques, including expression analysis through in situ hybridization and forward genetic screens, have laid the foundation for our understanding of germ cell development in zebrafish. In this chapter, we discuss some of these classic techniques, as well as recent cutting-edge methodologies that have improved our ability to visualize the process of germ cell specification and differentiation, and the tracking of specific molecules involved in these processes. Additionally, we discuss traditional and novel technologies for manipulating the zebrafish genome to identify new components through loss-of-function studies of putative germ cell regulators. Together with the numerous aforementioned advantages of zebrafish as a genetic model for studying development, we believe these new techniques will continue to advance zebrafish to the forefront for investigation of the molecular regulators of germ cell specification and germ line biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Zebrafish Cellular and Developmental Biology, Part B Developmental Biology, 2016
EditorsLeonard I. Zon, Monte Westerfield, H. William Detrich
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)9780128050552
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameMethods in Cell Biology
ISSN (Print)0091-679X


  • CRISPR-Cas9
  • Germ cell
  • Germ line
  • Germ plasm
  • MS2
  • Maternal effect
  • Maternal specification
  • Morpholino
  • RNAscope
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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