Advancements in zebrafish applications for 21st century toxicology

Pharmacol Ther. 2016 May:161:11-21. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2016.03.009. Epub 2016 Mar 22.


The zebrafish model is the only available high-throughput vertebrate assessment system, and it is uniquely suited for studies of in vivo cell biology. A sequenced and annotated genome has revealed a large degree of evolutionary conservation in comparison to the human genome. Due to our shared evolutionary history, the anatomical and physiological features of fish are highly homologous to humans, which facilitates studies relevant to human health. In addition, zebrafish provide a very unique vertebrate data stream that allows researchers to anchor hypotheses at the biochemical, genetic, and cellular levels to observations at the structural, functional, and behavioral level in a high-throughput format. In this review, we will draw heavily from toxicological studies to highlight advances in zebrafish high-throughput systems. Breakthroughs in transgenic/reporter lines and methods for genetic manipulation, such as the CRISPR-Cas9 system, will be comprised of reports across diverse disciplines.

Keywords: CRISPR; High-throughput; Toxicology; Transgenic/Reporter; Zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Gene Expression
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays / methods*
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal*
  • Toxicology / methods*
  • Zebrafish / genetics*
  • Zebrafish / physiology*