Zebrafish as tools for drug discovery

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2015 Oct;14(10):721-31. doi: 10.1038/nrd4627. Epub 2015 Sep 11.


The zebrafish has become a prominent vertebrate model for disease and has already contributed to several examples of successful phenotype-based drug discovery. For the zebrafish to become useful in drug development more broadly, key hurdles must be overcome, including a more comprehensive elucidation of the similarities and differences between human and zebrafish biology. Recent studies have begun to establish the capabilities and limitations of zebrafish for disease modelling, drug screening, target identification, pharmacology, and toxicology. As our understanding increases and as the technologies for manipulating zebrafish improve, it is hoped that the zebrafish will have a key role in accelerating the emergence of precision medicine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology
  • Zebrafish* / embryology
  • Zebrafish* / physiology


  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrimidines
  • dorsomorphin