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Keywords:

  • enhancer trap;
  • gene trap;
  • insertional mutagenesis;
  • molecular imaging;
  • protein trap;
  • transposon

Enhancer and gene trapping methods are highly effective means for the identification and functional analysis of transcriptionally active genes. With recent advances in fluorescent proteins and transposon based integration technologies, a growing family of trapping approaches has been developed in zebrafish, offering powerful tools to both visualize and functionally dissect gene networks during development. Coupled with the intrinsic advantages of the zebrafish model system, creative genetic engineering of trap vectors has enabled high-resolution molecular imaging and genetic manipulations. This review highlights the different enhancer and gene trap approaches that have been developed in zebrafish and offers insights into the strengths, limitations and experimental strategies for their application to enrich our knowledge of gene function and the cellular processes they control.