Int. J. Dev. Biol. In Press
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.210129db
© UPV/EHU Press

Zebrafish research in Greece: swimming against the current

Dimitris Beis*

Developmental Biology, Biomedical Research Foundation Academy of Athens, Athens, Greece

ABSTRACT Zebrafish is a vertebrate model extensively used in Developmental Biology and Human Disease modeling as it shares high genetic and physiological similarities with humans. It has become the second most popular animal model, following mice, with several advantages: zebrafish are easily housed and cared for, the cost of installing and maintaining a zebrafish facility is significantly lower than mice, they reproduce often and develop quickly. Using zebrafish complies with the 3Rs principles of laboratory animal use. Zebrafish embryos develop externally and are transparent, allowing for in vivo non-invasive imaging. There are many transgenic and mutant lines available that mimic most Human Diseases, including reporter lines for most signaling pathways. There are also several reverse genetic tools to functionally verify genes or variants of unknown significance, identified in Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) or using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) approaches. In addition, the model emerges as an invaluable whole animal platform for various stages of drug discovery efforts by exploring the ability to do high-throughput phenotypic-driven screens. These include phenotypic screenings, determinations of general and/or specific toxicity (cardiac, renal, hepatotoxicity etc.), and mechanism of action studies. Finally, zebrafish are able to retain their capacity to regenerate most organs during their entire life span, making them a well-established model to study organ regeneration. The European Zebrafish Society consists of more than 180 research labs throughout Europe. In Greece however, zebrafish use remains rather limited. I present here a brief historical overview of zebrafish research in Greece.

Keywords:

zebrafish, Human Disease models, toxicology, precision medicine, regeneration

*Corresponding author e-mail: dbeis@bioacademy.gr