Adult form


Much of developmental biology has focused on embryos, yet pattern formation and morphogenesis continue into post-embryonic stages and are essential for generating adult form. We still know remarkably little about these post-embryonic developmental events or the intersection of local cellular behaviors and global endocrine controls. We are using the larval-to-adult transformation of zebrafish as a system in which to understand mechanisms of post-embryonic growth and development, with relevance to human fetal and neonatal stages, as well as birth defects, regeneration and the evolution of adult form across species.

To assist in studying these later stages, we compiled a post-embryonic normal table of zebrafish development.

  • Parichy et al. 2009. Developmental Dynamics 238:2975–3015.   PDF   WEB

Thyroid hormone dependence of adult development

Thyroid hormone is essential for amphibian metamorphosis, and to see if the zebrafish larval-to-adult transformation might be similarly TH-dependent we generated transgenic fish in which we can ablate the thyroid gland. Surprisingly, hypothyroid fish continue to develop and exhibit tissue-specific effects more reminiscent of amniotes than amphibians. As just one example, scales exhibit a strong TH-dependence, being delayed and abnormally small in hypothyroid fish.



  • McMenamin et al. 2014. Science 345:1358–1361.   PDF   WEB

Dwarfism syndromes

Numerous dwarfism syndromes have been described in amniotes yet the genetic bases for many of these remain unknown. To better understand  requirements for normal growth and stature we have studied  zebrafish mutants for Trpm7 and growth hormone 1.

  • McMenamin et al. 2013. Endocrinology 154:1476–1487.   PDF  WEB
  • Elizondo et al. 2010. Endocrinology 151:5700–5709.    PDF   WEB
  • Elizondo et al. 2005. Current Biology 15:667–671.   PDF   WEB


gh1 mutant


Department of Biology

University of Virginia

Physical and Life Sciences Building

Charlottesville VA 22904






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