Zebrafish (Danio rerio)and medaka (Oryzias latipes) are small fish that offer a rich repertoire of genetic, molecular and cellular manipulation tools that are of central importance for the BIFTM programme. Their unique properties (small size, numerous offspring, optical transparency of the embryo, amenability to genetic and chemical screens) make them ideal for the in vivo identification of new key targets and synthetic small molecules that control cell behaviour. They are currently the only vertebrate systems that permit screens of phenotypic changes in response to genetic alterations or small molecules in the living, intact vertebrate organism. Moreover, the monitoring and modelling of stem cell or immune cell behaviour underlying vertebrate development and organ formationis possible at a resolutionnot matched by other systems. In addition, the regenerative capacity of adult tissues in zebrafish is extraordinary (e.g. kidney, heart and brain regenerate with full functional recovery).
The European Zebrafish Resource Centre (EZRC) maintains a database, a sperm bank derived from mutants and transgenic lines and will also maintain a smaller number of fish lines available as living stocks. This resource serves the entire European research community.