Tryon, R.C., and Johnson, S.L. (2012) Clonal and lineage analysis of melanocyte stem cells and their progeny in the zebrafish. Meth. Mol. Biol.. 916:181-195.
The study of melanocyte biology in the zebrafish presents a highly tractable system for understanding fundamental principles of developmental biology. Melanocytes are visible in the transparent embryo and in the mature fish following metamorphosis, a physical transformation from the larval to adult form. While early developing larval melanocytes are direct derivatives of the neural crest, the remainder of melanocytes develop from unpigmented precursors, or melanocyte stem cells (MSCs). The Tol2 transposable element has facilitated the construction of stable transgenic lines that label melanocytes. In another application, integration of Tol2 constructs makes possible clonal analysis of melanocyte and MSC lineages. Drugs that block melanin synthesis, ablate melanocytes, and block establishment of MSC populations allow the interrogation of this model system for mechanisms of adult stem cell development and regulation.