Zebrafish as a Model for Human Diseases


Zebrafish (Danio rerio) are small freshwater fish, the only vertebrate model in which a large‐scale mutagenesis strategy has been undertaken as an approach to the study of the development of blood and vital organs. The development of techniques for gene mapping in zebra fish and the anticipated completion of the zebra fish genome sequencing project in 2002 will enhance the use of zebra fish as models for human diseases.

Keywords: zebra fish; genetic screens; development; hematopoiesis; human diseases

Figure 1.

The zebra fish, Danio rerio, is a small freshwater fish that has been used in large‐scale mutagenesis studies to generate models of human diseases and disorders of development. (Photograph used by permission of ZFIN, http://zfin.org/)

Figure 2.

Upper panels: zebra fish embryos stained at 48 h with o‐dianisidine for hemoglobin detection. Lower panels: zebrafish peripheral erythrocytes stained with Wright–Giemsa. Upper left: a wild‐type zebrafish embryo at 48 h with red blood cells traveling over the yolk sac in a primitive circulation. Upper right: a weissherbst zebrafish embryo at 48 h with marked anemia. Lower left: wild‐type zebrafish peripheral erythrocytes with normal nuclear size. Circulating erythrocytes are nucleated in zebrafish. Lower right: weissherbst peripheral erythrocytes with enlarged nuclei and immature morphology. (Reprinted by permission of Macmillan Magazines Ltd from Donovan A, Brownlie A, Zhou Y, et al. (2000) Positional cloning of zebrafish ferroportin 1 identifies a conserved vertebrate iron exporter. Nature403: 776–781.)



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Donovan A, Brownlie A, Zhou Y, et al. (2000) Positional cloning of zebrafish ferroportin1 identifies a conserved vertebrate iron exporter. Nature 403(6771): 776–781.

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Web Links

WashU‐Zebrafish Genome Resources Project http://zfish.wustl.edu/

Stanford Zebrafish Genome Project http://zebrafish.stanford.edu/

The Zebrafish Information Network http://zfin.org/

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How to Cite close
Fraenkel, Paula Goodman, and Zon, Leonard I(Jan 2006) Zebrafish as a Model for Human Diseases. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0005580]