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Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet. 2002;3:311-40. Epub 2002 Apr 15.

From Zebrafish to human: modular medical models.

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Cardiovascular Research Center and Division of Cardiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.


Genetic screens in Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, and Danio rerio clarified the logic of metazoan development by revealing critical unitary steps and pathways to embryogenesis. Can genetic screens similarly organize medicine? We here examine human diseases that resemble mutations in Danio rerio, the zebrafish, the one vertebrate species for which large-scale genetic screens have been performed and extensively analyzed. Zebrafish mutations faithfully phenocopy many human disorders. Each mutation, once cloned, provides candidate genes and pathways for evaluation in the human. The collection of mutations in their entirety potentially provides a medical taxonomy, one based in developmental biology and genetics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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