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Volume 1, Issue 4, Pages 302-306<302::AID-YEA53>3.0.CO;2-#
Review Article

Morphants: A New Systematic Vertebrate Functional Genomics Approach

Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Transposon Research at the University of Minnesota, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, 6-160 Jackson Hall, 321 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA

Received 9 October 2000; Accepted 12 October 2000

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The vertebrate genome contains a predicted 50 000 100 000 genes, many of unknown function. The recent development of morpholino-based gene knock-down technology in zebrafish has opened the door to the genome-wide assignment of function based on sequence in a model vertebrate. This review describes technical aspects of morpholino use for functional genomics applications, including the potential for multigene targeting and known methodological limitations. The result of successful gene inactivation by this agent is proposed to yield embryos with a ‘morphant’ phenotypic designation. The establishment of a morphant database opens the door to true functional genomics using the vertebrate, Danio rerio.