Deo, R.C., and MacRae, C.A. (2011) The zebrafish:scalable in vivo modeling for systems biology. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews. Systems Biology and Medicine. 3(3):335-46.
The zebrafish offers a scalable vertebrate model for many areas of biologic investigation. There is substantial conservation of genetic and genomic features and, at a higher order, conservation of intermolecular networks, as well as physiologic systems and phenotypes. We highlight recent work demonstrating the extent of this homology, and efforts to develop high-throughput phenotyping strategies suited to genetic or chemical screening on a scale compatible with in vivo validation for systems biology. We discuss the implications of these approaches for functional annotation of the genome, elucidation of multicellular processes in vivo, and mechanistic exploration of hypotheses generated by a broad range of 'unbiased' 'omic technologies such as expression profiling and genome-wide association. Finally, we outline potential strategies for the application of the zebrafish to the systematic study of phenotypic architecture, disease heterogeneity and drug responses.
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