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Zebrafish Journal Publishes Skin Pigmentation Studies That Shed Light on the Evolution of Race

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y., Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- A special series of papers in the peer-reviewed journal Zebrafish provides a comprehensive look at future directions of research on pigment biology. Model organisms such as zebrafish advance the scientific understanding of the genetic basis of human skin color and race. The papers, which include historical findings and perspectives, are published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., and are available online at

"With the election of the first African-American president of the United States, our society has taken a landmark step towards deracializing human conduct," says Stephen C. Ekker, PhD, Rochester, MN, Editor-in-Chief of Zebrafish. "As scientists, we contribute to this work by sharing genetic insights to demystify skin color and race."

Guest Editors Keith C. Cheng, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology, Penn State College of Medicine, and David M. Parichy, PhD, Department of Biology, University of Washington, have compiled an intriguing collection of original scientific papers and historical perspectives on the study of pigmentation in zebrafish, a vertebrate that shares genetic mechanisms of skin color with humans. The Special Focus on Pigmentation Biology includes a Roundtable Discussion entitled, "Research Implications of Pigment Biology in Zebrafish," by Cheng, Parichy, and Ekker.

Keith Cheng explains that zebrafish "have outstanding potential as an educational tool--to 'demystify' race, to increase public understanding of the role of model systems and evolution in science, and to enhance appreciation of both genetic and environmental factors that impact human health and society." Fish research has already played an important part in the discovery of genetic changes that make the largest known contribution to the lighter skin color of Europeans. Variation--or genetic polymorphisms--in these DNA sequences are key determinants of pigmentation among different human populations.

The special issue of Zebrafish also includes an essay by Steven A. Farber that provides historical perspective on the first application of genetics to manage human society--a scientific area that lead to the eugenics movement. A series of papers on pigmentation biology features a report on the study of skin cancer in fish by Leonard Zon and colleagues, and a paper by Keith Hultzman, Alexander Scott, and Stephen Johnson that explores the science behind regeneration and stem cell biology using pigment patterning as a major readout of organogenesis. Additional papers focus on natural variation of male ornamental traits of the guppy, the link between pigment and fish behavior, and pigment dilution mutants in fish models connected to lysosome-related organelles and vesicular traffic genes.

Zebrafish is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published quarterly in print and online. This is the only peer-reviewed journal to focus on the zebrafish and other aquarium fish species as models for the study of vertebrate development, evolution, toxicology, and human disease. Tables of contents and a free sample issue may be viewed online at

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including DNA and Cell Biology, Stem Cells and Development, and Cloning and Stem Cells. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 60 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available at

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 140 Huguenot St., New Rochelle, NY 10801-5215

Phone: (914) 740-2100 (800) M-LIEBERT Fax: (914) 740-2101

CONTACT: Vicki Cohn, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 914-740-2100, ext. 2156,

SOURCE Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
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