Grunwald, D.J. and Streisinger, G. (1992) Induction of recessive lethal and specific locus mutations in the zebrafish with ethyl nitrosourea. Genet. Res.. 59:103-116.
Recessive lethal mutations and mutations at the gol-1 locus were induced in the zebrafish by exposure of mature sperm to the alkylating agent ethyl nitrosourea (ENU). Embryonic lethal phenotypes were recognized among the parthenogenetic progeny of mutagenized animals or among the progeny of daughters of mutagenized animals. Novel specific locus mutations were identified by the failure of mutagenized chromosomes to complement pre-existing mutant alleles at the gol-1 locus. Each mutagenized individual harboured approximately 10 embryonic lethal mutations in its germ line and about 1 in 500 mutagenized animals harboured a new mutation at the gol-1 locus. Three lines of evidence indicate that the majority of mutations that were recovered following treatment of mature sperm with ENU were probably point mutations. First, the soma and germ lines of mutagenized animals were mosaic, as expected following simple alkylation of sperm DNA. Second, mutations induced by ENU at the gol-1 locus affected pigmentation but not viability, unlike the majority of mutations induced at this locus with gamma-irradiation. Third, the ratio of specific locus:recessive lethal mutations induced by ENU was approximately 50-fold lower than the ratio observed following mutagenesis with gamma-rays. Comparison of the incidence with which embryonic recessive lethal mutations were induced with the incidence with which specific locus mutations arose indicates that there are greater than 5000 genes essential to the development and viability of the zebrafish embryo.