Goldfish morphology as a model for evolutionary developmental biology

Kinya G. Ota, Gembu Abe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Morphological variation of the goldfish is known to have been established by artificial selection for ornamental purposes during the domestication process. Chinese texts that date to the Song dynasty contain descriptions of goldfish breeding for ornamental purposes, indicating that the practice originated over one thousand years ago. Such a well-documented goldfish breeding process, combined with the phylogenetic and embryological proximities of this species with zebrafish, would appear to make the morphologically diverse goldfish strains suitable models for evolutionary developmental (evodevo) studies. However, few modern evodevo studies of goldfish have been conducted. In this review, we provide an overview of the historical background of goldfish breeding, and the differences between this teleost and zebrafish from an evolutionary perspective. We also summarize recent progress in the field of molecular developmental genetics, with a particular focus on the twin-tail goldfish morphology. Furthermore, we discuss unanswered questions relating to the evolution of the genome, developmental robustness, and morphologies in the goldfish lineage, with the goal of blazing a path toward an evodevo study paradigm using this teleost species as a new model species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-295
Number of pages24
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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