The zebrafish research community is celebrating! The zebrafish genome has recently been sequenced, the Zebrafish Mutation
Project (launched by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute) has published the results of its first large-scale ethylnitrosourea
(ENU) mutagenesis screen, and a host of new techniques, such as the genome editing technologies TALEN and CRISPR-Cas, are
enabling specific mutations to be created in model organisms and investigated in vivo. The zebrafish truly seems to be coming of age. These powerful resources invoke the question of whether zebrafish can be
increasingly used to model human disease, particularly common, chronic diseases of metabolism such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
In recent years, there has been considerable success, mainly from genomic approaches, in identifying genetic variants that
are associated with these conditions in humans; however, mechanistic insights into the role of implicated disease loci are
lacking. In this Review, we highlight some of the advantages and disadvantages of zebrafish to address the organism’s utility
as a model system for human metabolic diseases.
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