University of Massachusetts Amherst

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  • zebrafish belladonna mutant

Missing the Connection: Seeing in Reverse

Axons from the eye normally project to the opposite side of the fish brain. In this zebrafish belladonna mutant, retinal axons project to the ipsilateral tectal lobe and no optic chiasm forms. The response to visual cues (motion) in these fish is reversed. Neurobiologist Rolf Karlstrom uses zebrafish as a simple vertebrate system to study how the forebrain and pituitary gland develop, and to investigate how axons are guided across the midline to form the forebrain commissures and optic chiasm. Accessible and rapid early development, combined with beautiful imaging characteristics and the ability to manipulate gene expression, make zebrafish a powerful model system for the study of early brain formation. Learn more

Photo credit: Rolf Karlstrom