Harris Laboratory


The Harris laboratory studies fish as a model to understand the genetic regulation of ‘postembryonic’ development of the skeleton and the inherent capacity for growth and repair in vertebrates. We use the power of forward genetics in fish as a means to identify genetic variants that regulate development of adult form as well as the regulation of life history strategies. 

Fish provide excellent tools in which to study gene function in development as the growth and development of the fish can be viewed in real time. These findings are then analyzed in the mouse and other vertebrates to understand the conservation of these mechanisms and the growth potential within the developing skeleton. In parallel to work in the zebrafish, comparative studies in other fish species are being conducted to take advantage of the genetic diversity among fish and the varied means by which they regulate development.


The genetic regulation of postembryonic development and its role in generation of form, physiology, and manifestation of disease.

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