Institute of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, British Columbia, V5A 1S6, Canada
Phone: (604) 291-3021
Fax: (604) 291-5583
Our primary area of research is developmental biology using zebrafish.
We have produced androgenetic zebrafish to study imprinting in a non-mammalian vertebrate. Based on research using mice and a few other mammals, it has been generalized that the survival of diploid gynogenetic (both sets of chromosomes from mother) and diploid androgenetic (both sets of chromosomes from father) mammals can not survive due to imprinting. Streisinger et al., (1981 in Science) showed that gynogenetic zebrafish, can survive. However, we knew of no instance where an androgenetic vertebrate had been produced, and the androgenetic nature conclusively demonstrated by the lack of inheritance of homozygous maternal specific DNA polymorphisms to the putative androgenetic progeny. We have produced haploid androgenetic zebrafish, which arrest development around day 4, and diploid androgenetic zebrafish which survive through adulthood. We also have strong genetic data confirming the androgenetic nature of our androgenetic zebrafish. The survival of androgenetic zebrafish indicates that essential genes inherited through the father are not irreversibly turned off at a required developmental stage in our representative non-mammalian vertebrate. This result is contrary to those found for mice, where expression of certain paternal genes are suppressed at a required developmental stage.
We are also studying sex determination in zebrafish using genetics and molecular cloning techniques.