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

Gwendoline Astre, Eitan Moses, Itamar Harel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


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
EditorsLivia D'Angelo, Paolo de Girolamo
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages42
ISBN (Print)978-0-12-821099-4
StatePublished - 2022


  • African turquoise killifish
  • Aging
  • CRISPR/cas9
  • Comparative evolution
  • Diapause
  • Genome engineering
  • Nothobranchius furzeri
  • developmental biology
  • ecology
  • regeneration


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