Volume 203, Issue 3 p. 253-310
Article
Free Access

Stages of embryonic development of the zebrafish

Charles B. Kimmel

Corresponding Author

Charles B. Kimmel

Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403–1254

Institute of Neuroscience, 1254 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403–1254Search for more papers by this author
William W. Ballard

William W. Ballard

Department of Biology, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755

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Seth R. Kimmel

Seth R. Kimmel

Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403–1254

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Bonnie Ullmann

Bonnie Ullmann

Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403–1254

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Thomas F. Schilling

Thomas F. Schilling

Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403–1254

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First published: July 1995
Citations: 524

Abstract

We describe a series of stages for development of the embryo of the zebrafish, Danio (Brachydanio) rerio. We define seven broad periods of embryogenesis—the zygote, cleavage, blastula, gastrula, segmentation, pharyngula, and hatching periods. These divisions highlight the changing spectrum of major developmental processes that occur during the first 3 days after fertilization, and we review some of what is known about morphogenesis and other significant events that occur during each of the periods. Stages subdivide the periods. Stages are named, not numbered as in most other series, providing for flexibility and continued evolution of the staging series as we learn more about development in this species. The stages, and their names, are based on morphological features, generally readily identified by examination of the live embryo with the dissecting stereomicroscope. The descriptions also fully utilize the optical transparancy of the live embryo, which provides for visibility of even very deep structures when the embryo is examined with the compound microscope and Nomarski interference contrast illumination. Photomicrographs and composite camera lucida line drawings characterize the stages pictorially. Other figures chart the development of distinctive characters used as staging aid signposts. ©1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.