In a large-scale screen for mutations affecting embryogenesis in zebrafish, we identified 48 mutations in 34 genetic loci specifically affecting craniofacial development. Mutants were analyzed for abnormalities in the cartilaginous head skeleton. Further, the expression of marker genes was studied to investigate potential abnormalities in mutant rhombencephalon, neural crest, and pharyngeal endoderm. The results suggest that the identified mutations affect three distinct aspects of craniofacial development. In one group, mutations affect the overall pattern of the craniofacial skeleton, suggesting that the genes are involved in the specification of these elements. Another large group of mutations affects differentiation and morphogenesis of cartilage, and may provide insight into the genetic control of chondrogenesis. The last group of mutations leads to the abnormal arrangement of skeletal elements and may uncover important tissue-tissue interactions underlying jaw development.

This content is only available via PDF.