Downstream Dreams: Investigating Melanoma in Zebrafish


Dahlia E. Perez, Adam Amsterdam, Jacqueline A. Lees

Pictured here are pigment producing cells interacting on a zebrafish scale. Melanocytes are the darker and more heterogeneous cells that receive the repulsive cues from the yellow xanthophores.


Dahlia E. Perez, Jacqueline A. Lees
Koch Institute at MIT

Like a pebble dropped into a pond, a single genetic mutation can trigger a ripple of biological consequences, including cancer. The Lees Lab uses various model systems to track the progression of cancer from origin to disease.

Here, a close-up view of melanocytes in zebrafish gives insight into the organization of these cells in their normal state. Next, biologists will mutate a single gene, a known initiator of uveal melanoma, and study the cells throughout zebrafish development to determine the downstream effects of this single mutational event.