GENOMIC FEATURES ORIGINATING FROM THIS LABNo data available
Zebrafish (Danio rerio) and medaka (Oryzias latipes) are small fish that offer a rich repertoire of genetic, molecular and cellular manipulation tools that are of central importance for the BioInterfaces programme. Their unique properties (small size, numerous offspring, optical transparency of the embryo, amenability to genetic and chemical screens) make them ideal for the identification in vivo of new key targets and small molecules that control cell behaviour. Indeed they are currently the only vertebrate system that permit screens of phenotypic changes in response to genetic alterations or small molecules to be made efficiently. Moreover, the transparency and small size of the embryos allow the monitoring and modelling of cell behaviour underlying vertebrate development and organ formation, unique features not offered by other vertebrate models and of central importance for the BioInterfaces programme. The availability of several thousand existing mutants and transgenic lines is also a vital resource. Small fish models are invaluable for many fields, including cell biology, developmental genetics and biomedicine. As a consequence, the pharmaceutical industry is strongly interested in using fish for drug screens and whole animal toxicology studies.
The KIT houses the largest experimental fish facility in Europe with a capacity of more than 300.000 fish. The facility is now being further enlarged to serve as a European Zebrafish Resource Center (EZRC). This center will be unique as it will not only maintain and distribute a large number of existing mutant and transgenic zebrafish lines but will also provide screening services and technologies such as imaging and high-throughput sequencing. In close interaction with physicists, engineers and IT specialists, we are actively expanding the medium/high throughput screening technologies that have been recently established at KIT. Key areas include automation of embryo handling and automated image acquisition and processing. Our platform also involves the development of novel microscopy techniques, (e.g. SPIM, DSLM, robotic macroscope) to permit high-resolution, real-time imaging in 4D. Furthermore, computational methods pave the way for virtual screens where researchers anywhere in the world will be able to link into the EZRC database to access the high resolution models of wild-type, transgenic, mutant and chemically exposed embryos for particular traits of interest.
In addition the fish facility keeps a range of medaka stocks, maintained by the Loosli group.