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Phenotyping Zebrafish Cancer Models

The nature of zebrafish, their small size, and their aquatic lifestyle present unusual challenges for phenotyping as we understand it for mammals.  On the other hand, the advantages of their external development and visibility allow other types of characterization that are challenging in mammals, and imaging and labeling strategies are enabling remarkable discoveries.  Research groups have developed and collected phenotyping protocols for zebrafish. The ZFIN resource offers guidance on anatomy, and The Zebrafish Book has details on histological and molecular methods for characterizing zebrafish.

Because of the availability of the zebrafish genome, tools for genotyping and for molecular phenotyping are available.  Increasingly tools for high-throughput analysis will benefit zebrafish phenotyping efforts. Identification of informative biomarkers in zebrafish is well underway. Application of these methods to cancer research in the zebrafish model system will continue to offer utility for researchers.