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Dis Model Mech. 2014 Jul;7(7):769-76. doi: 10.1242/dmm.016352.

Repairing quite swimmingly: advances in regenerative medicine using zebrafish.

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Brigham and Women's Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02215, USA. Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, MA 02115, USA.


Regenerative medicine has the promise to alleviate morbidity and mortality caused by organ dysfunction, longstanding injury and trauma. Although regenerative approaches for a few diseases have been highly successful, some organs either do not regenerate well or have no current treatment approach to harness their intrinsic regenerative potential. In this Review, we describe the modeling of human disease and tissue repair in zebrafish, through the discovery of disease-causing genes using classical forward-genetic screens and by modulating clinically relevant phenotypes through chemical genetic screening approaches. Furthermore, we present an overview of those organ systems that regenerate well in zebrafish in contrast to mammalian tissue, as well as those organs in which the regenerative potential is conserved from fish to mammals, enabling drug discovery in preclinical disease-relevant models. We provide two examples from our own work in which the clinical translation of zebrafish findings is either imminent or has already proven successful. The promising results in multiple organs suggest that further insight into regenerative mechanisms and novel clinically relevant therapeutic approaches will emerge from zebrafish research in the future.


Disease model; Gastrointestinal; Hematovascular; Regeneration; Zebrafish

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