Key regulators of bone formation are highly conserved between mammals and teleosts. The corresponding orthologs share significant sequence similarities and an overlap in expression patterns when compared to mammals.

Cranial cartilage is the first skeletal structure to be detected as early as 3 days post-fertilization, while first calcified intramembranous bone structures start to form at about the same time.

Due to its rapid generation time, large offspring numbers, external development, transparency and the availability of genetic maps, the zebrafish is a very attractive model system to study the function of genes involved in bone formation.

Transgenic zebrafish lines represent unique tools to follow osteoblasts in vivo and to analyze their function in wild type or mutant backgrounds.

This animal model can be used to evaluate drug or treatment effects on cartilage and bone formation by measuring:

Using this model, researchers from GIGA have evaluated the physiological consequences of altered gravity on bone formation and more generally on whole genome gene expression.

For more info on our zebrafish facility, click here.