Malicki, J. (2000) Harnessing the power of forward genetics – analysis of neuronal diversity and patterning in the zebrafish retina. Trends in neurosciences. 23(11):531-541.
The seven major cell classes of the vertebrate retina are organized with remarkable precision into distinct layers. The appearance of this architecture during embryogenesis raises two questions of general importance. How do individual cell classes acquire their specialized structures and functions if they all originate from a morphologically uniform cell population? What mechanisms are responsible for the formation of such a complex and exact pattern? Recent advances present an opportunity to apply the tools of forward genetic analysis to identify mutations that affect these mechanisms in zebrafish. Molecular characterization will follow, providing insight into the basis of neuronal patterning in the vertebrate CNS.