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The zebrafish as a model for studying skeletal development.
Du, SJ; Haga, Y
The skeleton is a specialized tissue that, together with cartilage, makes up the skeletal system that confers multiple mechanical and biological functions, such as providing a support site for muscle attachment, protecting vital organs (e.g. brain) or cells (e.g. bone marrow) and serving as a reserve of ions. The important function of bone can be easily recognized in day-to-day life, where millions of people suffer from bone disease such as osteoporosis, that is, in part, caused by an imbalance between bone formation and bone resorption. A better understanding of the regulation of bone formation will provide important insights into the molecu1ar mechanisms of bone disease and give rise to novel strategies for new drug design. Zebrafish have become an excellent model for systematic screening for mutations affecting different aspects of embryonic development including bone formation. Many of the point mutations that were created in fish more closely resemble human skeletal dysplasias. This chapter describes the embryonic origins and molecular regulation of bone formation in zebrafish. This review is primarily focused on recent studies that have taken advantage of the simple embryology and genetic tractability of zebrafish to dissect the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying osteogenesis.
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