Zaucker, A., Bodur, T., Roest Crollius, H., Hadzhiev, Y., Gehrig, J., Loosli, F., Watson, C., Müller, F. (2014) Description of Embryonic Development of Spotted Green Pufferfish (Tetraodon nigroviridis). Zebrafish. 11(6):509-17.
Abstract Pufferfish species of the Tetraodontidae family carry the smallest genomes among vertebrates. Their compressed genomes are thought to be enriched for functional DNA compared to larger vertebrate genomes, and they are important models for comparative genomics. The significance of pufferfish as model organisms in comparative genomics is due to the availability of two sequenced genomes, that of spotted green pufferfish (Tetraodon nigroviridis) and fugu (Takifugu rubripes). However, there is only a very limited utilization of pufferfish as an experimental model organism, due to the lack of established husbandry and developmental genetics protocols. In this study, we provide the first description of the normal embryonic development of Tetraodon nigroviridis. Embryos were obtained by in vitro fertilization of eggs, and subsequent development was monitored by brightfield microscopy at constant temperature. Tetraodon development was divided into distinct stages based on diagnostic morphological features, which were adopted from published literature on normal development of other fish species like medaka (Oryzias latipes), zebrafish (Danio rerio), and fugu. Tetraodon embryos show more similar morphologies to medaka than to zebrafish, reflecting its phylogenetic position. The early developmental stage series described in this study forms the foundation for the utilization of tetraodon as an experimental model organism for comparative developmental studies.