Inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) is a key regulatory enzyme in the de novo synthesis of the purine base guanine. Dominant mutations in human IMPDH1 cause photoreceptor degeneration for reasons that are unknown. Here, we sought to provide some foundational information on Impdh1a in the zebrafish retina. We found that in zebrafish, gene subfunctionalization due to ancestral duplication resulted in a predominant retinal variant expressed exclusively in rod and cone photoreceptors. This variant is structurally and functionally similar to the human IMPDH1 retinal variant and shares a reduced sensitivity to GTP-mediated inhibition.