The African turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri): biology and research applications

Gwendoline Astre, Eitan Moses, Itamar Harel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The African turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) is a small annual fish occupying a seasonal habitat, the ephemeral water pans in southeast Africa, primarily Zimbabwe and Mozambique. In recent years, this fish has emerged as an exciting experimental model system for aging research, due to its naturally compressed lifespan, rapid sexual maturity, embryonic diapause (a mechanism for survival during the dry season), and short generation time. Here, we review the rapidly growing research applications for this fish, which stretch far beyond aging research and include comparative evolution, ecology, regeneration, and developmental biology. Furthermore, we discuss how recent advances in genomics and genome editing have expanded our experimental toolbox, and transformed this organism into a state-of-the-art genetic model. We also provide comprehensive guidelines for establishing this fish as a genetic model in the lab, including large-scale husbandry and breeding, efficient genome engineering approaches, and a visual guide for fish dissection and anatomy.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationLaboratory Fish in Biomedical Research
Subtitle of host publicationBiology, Husbandry and Research Applications for Zebrafish, Medaka, Killifish, Cavefish, Stickleback, Goldfish and Danionella Translucida
Number of pages43
ISBN (Electronic)9780128210994
ISBN (Print)9780128212455
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • African turquoise killifish
  • Aging
  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • Comparative evolution
  • Developmental biology
  • Diapause
  • Ecology
  • Genome engineering
  • Nothobranchius furzeri
  • Regeneration

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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