The careand use of zebrafish in modern genomic research


Peter AlestrÝm, Jethro Lee Holter, Rasoul Nourizadeh-Lillabadi, Tom Ask Inger Marie Haaland & Jan Roger Torp


Department of Basic Sciences and Aquatic Medicine, NorwegianSchool of Veterinary Science


Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is increasingly used in basic biology and biomedicine and has a number of characters that makes it a good choice as lab research model. Itís small size, easy to breed, short generation interval, transparent embryo and well characterized early development (Streisinger et al.1986; together with a fully sequenced genome (1,560,480,686 bp and 22000 genes) allows project design and success expectations which in many instances are much higher then would be expected using most other species of fish. As a manifest of the increasing use of the zebrafish model, a novel scientific journal named Zebrafish ( has been devoted to this niche of experimental biology.


In our laboratory two major projects aims at further refinement of the model ( -biochemistry): (1) Establishment of zebrafish ES cell cultures to allow production of transgenic offspring based on targeted mutagenesis and (2) development of targeting of vector DNA to improve DNA vaccine and other therapeutic use of gene constructs. A third project area (3) concerns monitoring in vivo effects of micro gravity conditions and environmental toxins (xenobiotics) in zebrafish.


As part of our research we are in the position of upgrading our zebrafish laboratory to meet the requirements of standards set by AAALAC and other international bodies for certification and accreditation of research animal units.


Acknowledgement: The research is supported by grants from the Functional Genomics program (FUGE; in the Research Council of Norway (RCN; NFR 159329/S10; NFR 142193/432) and the European Space Agency (ESA-LS-99-MAP-LSS-003,