The central focus of the Nüsslein-Volhard fish group is the identification and characterization of genes that play important roles in the development of the zebrafish.
In 1993 the lab performed a large scale mutagenesis screen which resulted in the identification of approximately 1,000 mutants affecting a large variety of processes such as early development, organ formation, simple behaviour and - in collaboration with the group of F. Bonhoeffer (MPI für Entwicklungsbiologie) - axonal pathfinding (Haffter et al., 1996a). Recently, the lab also performed screens for maternal effect mutations and begun to investigate the development of the germ line. Projects in the laboratory currently include the development of neural crest derivatives, early development as well as the formation of muscles, skin, macrophages and the eye.
At the start of 2000, the Nüsslein-Volhard Lab initiated a new large-scale mutagenesis experiment as a joint-venture with Exelixis Deutschland (formerly Artemis), a Tübingen-based pharmaceuticals company. In this screen, scientists from the Nüsslein-Volhard Lab screened for mutations of their particular interest, using histological methods or molecular probes where necessary.
From 2004 - 2006 another big ENU Screen took place as a workpackage of the EU funded project zf models.
The Tübingen Zebrafish Stockcenter is headed by Hans Georg Frohnhöfer- a service facility which maintains mutant and wildtype lines of zebrafish mainly from the first Tübingen screen. These lines are freely available for research.