Marianne Bronner, Faculty Advisor
Lea Goentoro, Faculty Advisor
The Zebrafish/Xenopus/Lamprey Facility in the Beckman Institute aims to provide easy access to the Caltech community for research using zebrafish and frog embryos and adults.
Zebrafish has a number of unique characteristics that makes it a fantastic species for investigating vertebrate development and for modeling human disease. This species is highly transparent and thus allows us to image morphological changes that occur during development often in real time. See the web site. Thus, using various fluorescent proteins, we can label individual cells, organs and even organelles. Adult fish are small in size and breed readily. Eggs are externally fertilized and can be manipulated from the moment of fertilization. Embryo development is relatively fast and embryos can be genetically manipulated: various mutants can be generated to analyze gene function. Furthermore, genetic screens can be conducted to discover novel genes and also chemical screens can be conducted to determine effect of various drugs on development and organ formation.
Xenopus has long been an important and versatile tool for in vivo studies in molecular, cell, and developmental biology of vertebrate animals. Xenopus embryos are large and easily manipulated, and moreover, thousands of embryos can be obtained in a single day. It is one of the few vertebrate model system that allows for high-throughput in vivo analyses of gene function and biochemistry. Xenopus oocytes are currently a leading system for studies of ion transport and channel physiology, mitosis, cell cycle, and cytoskeleton biology. More recently, due to its accessibility to quantitative perturbations, Xenopus embryos are quickly growing into one of the primary systems for studying cell signaling and systems biology.
Lamprey are jawless fish that occupy a key phylogenetic position at the base of the vertebrate tree. They have an unusual life cycle such that they breed once a year, during the summer months. We have established a facility for the purpose of reliability generating lamprey embryos for embryological and molecular studies during the time that they are fertile. Embryos are obtained by in vitro fertilization and can then be studied from the one cell stage through larval development. This represents one of the few places it is possible to obtain lamprey embryos in North America.
Mail Code 114-96
Tel: (626) 395-2841