Liu, J., and Stainier, D.Y. (2012) Zebrafish in the study of early cardiac development. Circulation research. 110(6):870-874.
Heart development is a complex process that involves cell specification and differentiation, as well as elaborate tissue morphogenesis
and remodeling, to generate a functional organ. The zebrafish has emerged as a powerful model system to unravel the basic
genetic, molecular, and cellular mechanisms of cardiac development and function. We summarize and discuss recent discoveries
on early cardiac specification and the identification of the second heart field in zebrafish. In addition to the inductive
signals regulating cardiac specification, these studies have shown that heart development also requires a repressive mechanism
imposed by retinoic acid signaling to select cardiac progenitors from a multipotent population. Another recent advance in
the study of early zebrafish cardiac development is the identification of the second heart field. These studies suggest that
the molecular mechanisms that regulate the second heart field development are conserved between zebrafish and other vertebrates
including mammals and provide insight into the evolution of the second heart field and its derivatives.
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