Cristy Gelling is Communications Director at the GSA, a science writer, and a lapsed yeast geneticist.
Different varieties of medaka. Artwork by Saisetsu Honda and Nobuko Makihara.

The medaka, or Japanese rice fish, is a century-old genetic model on the rise again. Long studied by scientists in Japan, it has been rediscovered by the wider research community over the last decade as a flexible tool for vertebrate genetics.

Part of the appeal is the medaka’s amenability to inbreeding. In the latest issue of G3: Genes|Genomes|GeneticsSpivakov et al. lay the groundwork for a planned near-isogenic panel of 200 medaka lines derived from a single wild population. The authors sampled individuals from irrigation channels and characterized the genomes of eight sets of breeding pairs and their F1 progeny. These founders were found to be genetically diverse, with no detectable population structure and short linkage disequilibrium profiles, all promising characteristics for high resolution mapping in an isogenic panel.

Read the article.

Spivakov M., Auer T.O., Peravali R., Dunham I., Dolle D., Fujiyama A., Toyoda A., Aizu T., Minakuchi Y. & Loosli F. & (2014). Genomic and Phenotypic Characterization of a Wild Medaka Population: Towards the Establishment of an Isogenic Population Genetic Resource in Fish, G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, 4 (3) 433-445. DOI:


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