From Mendelian to molecular genetics: the Xiphophorus melanoma model

Trends Genet. 2006 Dec;22(12):654-61. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2006.09.013. Epub 2006 Oct 10.


In human tumor biopsies it is almost impossible to pinpoint the particular molecular abnormalities that determine neoplasia. In animal models where tumorigenesis is initiated by clearly defined genetic events, it is possible to study the genes and their functions that make a normal cell become a fully malignant cancer cell. In the fish Xiphophorus, melanoma can be initiated by simple crossings, and the signaling pathways that govern tumor growth and progression can be delineated. This model offers the prospect of obtaining a complete picture of the molecular changes and regulatory networks underlying tumor formation, which should contribute to a better understanding of some general principles of cancer biology, and identify new targets for melanoma research in particular.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyprinodontiformes / genetics*
  • Cyprinodontiformes / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Disease Progression
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Fish Proteins / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / genetics*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Systems Biology


  • Fish Proteins
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Xmrk protein, Xiphophorus