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Toxicol Pathol. 2003 Jan-Feb;31 Suppl:62-87.

The state of the art of the zebrafish model for toxicology and toxicologic pathology research--advantages and current limitations.

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Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology and Marine/Freshwater Biomedical Sciences Center, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97333, USA.


The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is now the pre-eminent vertebrate model system for clarification of the roles of specific genes and signaling pathways in development. The zebrafish genome will be completely sequenced within the next 1-2 years. Together with the substantial historical database regarding basic developmental biology, toxicology, and gene transfer, the rich foundation of molecular genetic and genomic data makes zebrafish a powerful model system for clarifying mechanisms in toxicity. In contrast to the highly advanced knowledge base on molecular developmental genetics in zebrafish, our database regarding infectious and noninfectious diseases and pathologic lesions in zebrafish lags far behind the information available on most other domestic mammalian and avian species, particularly rodents. Currently, minimal data are available regarding spontaneous neoplasm rates or spontaneous aging lesions in any of the commonly used wild-type or mutant lines of zebrafish. Therefore, to fully utilize the potential of zebrafish as an animal model for understanding human development, disease, and toxicology we must greatly advance our knowledge on zebrafish diseases and pathology.

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