• pineal gland;
  • epiphysis;
  • zebrafish;
  • circadian rhythm;
  • microarray


The zebrafish pineal gland (epiphysis) is a site of melatonin production, contains photoreceptor cells, and functions as a circadian clock pace maker. Here, we have used microarray technology to study the zebrafish pineal transcriptome. Analysis of gene expression at three larval and two adult stages revealed a highly dynamic transcriptional profile, revealing many genes that are highly expressed in the zebrafish pineal gland. Statistical analysis of the data based on Gene Ontology annotation indicates that many transcription factors are highly expressed during larval stages, whereas genes dedicated to phototransduction are preferentially expressed in the adult. Furthermore, several genes were identified that exhibit day/night differences in expression. Among the multiple candidate genes suggested by these data, we note the identification of a tissue-specific form of the unc119 gene with a possible role in pineal development. Developmental Dynamics 238:1813–1826, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.