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New map of the zebrafish genome
Edward R. Winstead


Scientists have placed thousands of new DNA markers on a map of the zebrafish genome. Zebrafish are being used to study early development and disease in humans, and plans have been made to sequence the organism's genome in the coming years. For now, researchers have a new map with 4,226 markers, including both genes and partial gene sequences, or expressed sequence tags.

Marc Ekker, of the University of Ottawa in Canada, led the research. Previous studies have identified genomic regions that are shared by humans and zebrafish, and the new map is a tool for identifying genes that are common among vertebrates. While the researchers were making the map, they discovered that the density of genes appears to be relatively consistent for the organism's 25 chromosomes.

"The zebrafish (Danio rerio) has emerged as an excellent model organism to study vertebrate biology and human diseases, largely because of the availability of a large number of mutations affecting a wide range of developmental pathways and physiological systems," the researchers write in Genome Research. "Many of the mutant phenotypes in zebrafish resemble human clinical disorders."

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Hukriede, N. et al. The LN54 radiation hybrid map of zebrafish expressed sequences. Genome Res 11, 2127-2132 (December 2001).

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