Isolation of developmental mutants of the ascidian Ciona savignyi
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Ascidians have been used extensively as model animals for experimental embryology. We report here the results of a pilot study with the aim of developing genetic methods for the ascidian Ciona savignyi. The chemical mutagen N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) was used to induce point mutations. F1 animals, produced by using sperm from ENU-treated animals to fertilize untreated eggs, were grown to reproductive age. Sperm and eggs collected from the hermaphrodite F1 adults were used to generate self-fertilized F2 broods, which were then screened for recessive, zygotically acting mutations. Animals carrying potential mutations were outcrossed to wild type to test for the heritability of the phenotypes. We report on a number of mutants isolated using this method, including several with abnormalities in tail and notochord development.
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