A mutagenesis screen was conducted on zebrafish using N-ethyl N-nitrosourea as a mutagen and an F2 crossing scheme to obtain homozygous mutants in the F3 generation. Whole abdomens of 3-mo-old F3 zebrafish progeny were fixed and mass-embedded in paraffin blocks. Blocks were cut with a microtome to obtain cross-sections of the entire body cavity that included the ovaries and testes. Slides of the cross-sections were analyzed for alterations in gonadal structure and gametogenesis and were compared with gonads of wild-type fish. A total of 125 mutagenized genomes in 81 families were screened and 11 mutations were observed that produced visible phenotypes in only one sex per family. Male mutations included testes without mature sperm that contained either predominantly spermatocytes or spermatogonia. Female mutations included ovaries containing 1) degenerating oocytes surrounded by hypertrophied follicle walls or stroma, 2) extrafollicular tissue proliferation, 3) proliferating postovulatory follicle walls, and 4) large numbers of degenerating preovulatory and postovulatory oocytes. While past screens on zebrafish have concentrated on early developmental mutations, the results of this study demonstrate for the first time that mutagenesis can be used with zebrafish to study reproduction in adult animals.
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