The Importance of Zebrafish in Biomedical Research

Bárbara Tavares, Susana Santos Lopes

Abstract


Introduction: Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is an ideal model organism for the study of vertebrate development. This is due to the large clutches that each couple produces, with up to 200 embryos every 7 days, and to the fact that the embryos and larvae are small, transparent and undergo rapid external development.
Material and Methods: Using scientific literature research tools available online and the keywords Zebrafish, biomedical research, human disease, and drug screening, we reviewed original studies and reviews indexed in PubMed.
Results: In this review we summarized work conducted with this model for the advancement of our knowledge related to several human diseases. We also focused on the biomedical research being performed in Portugal with the zebrafish model.
Discussion: Powerful live imaging and genetic tools are currently available for zebrafish making it a valuable model in biomedical
research. The combination of these properties with the optimization of automated systems for drug screening has transformed the zebrafish into a “top model” in biomedical research, drug discovery and toxicity testing. Furthermore, with the optimization of xenografts technology it will be possible to use zebrafish to aide in the choice of the best therapy for each patient.
Conclusion: Zebrafish is an excellent model organism in biomedical research, drug development and in clinical therapy.


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