Pituitary Induction and Patterning

The vertebrate pituitary gland is the "master" endocrine gland and controls a wide range of metabolic functions including growth, reproduction, and stress responses. The zebrafish is a relatively untapped resource in the study of endocrine development, and has major advantages for research into pituitary development. In particular, the genetic and optical accessibility of the embryo makes it possible to observe and manipulate the earliest events in pituitary formation. Importantly, pituitary structure is highly conserved across vertebrate species, making studies in zebrafish directly relevant to human development.