Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 649–666 | Cite as

Zebrafish as a model organism for nutrition and growth: towards comparative studies of nutritional genomics applied to aquacultured fishes

  • Pilar E. UlloaEmail author
  • Patricia Iturra
  • Roberto Neira
  • Cristian Araneda


Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is a common research model in fish studies of toxicology, developmental biology, neurobiology and molecular genetics; it has been proposed as a possible model organism for nutrition and growth studies in fish. The advantages of working with zebrafish in these areas are their small size, short generation time (12–14 weeks) and their capacity to produce numerous eggs (100–200 eggs/clutch). Since a wide variety of molecular tools and information are available for genomic analysis, zebrafish has also been proposed as a model for nutritional genomic studies in fish. The detailed study of every species employed as a model organism is important because these species are used to generalize how several biological processes occur in related organisms, and contribute considerably toward improving our understanding of the mechanisms involved in nutrition and growth. The objective of this review is to show the relevant aspects of the nutrition and growth in zebrafish that support its utility as a model organism for nutritional genomics studies. We made a particular emphasis that gene expression and genetic variants in response to zebrafish nutrition will shed light on similar processes in aquacultured fish.


Zebrafish Growth Nutrition Nutritional genomics Comparative genomics 



This work was supported by the following fellowships to PU: Conicyt AT-24091052 and Doctoral fellowship from the Consorcio Empresarial de Genética y Desarrollo Biotecnológico para la Industria Salmonera (Aquainnovo S.A.) and, Grant DI I2 04/05-2 Universidad de Chile to CA. The authors acknowledge the help of Daniela Romo and Francisco Estay (Piscicola Hulilco Ltda.) for your assistance in photography. PU also wishes to thank the Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias de Recursos Naturales of the Universidad de La Frontera. We are especially grateful to Rashida Lathan for the English editing in the final version of this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pilar E. Ulloa
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Patricia Iturra
    • 2
  • Roberto Neira
    • 3
    • 4
  • Cristian Araneda
    • 3
  1. 1.Departamento de Ciencias Químicas, Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias de Recursos Naturales, Facultad de Ciencias Ingeniería y AdministraciónUniversidad de La FronteraTemucoChile
  2. 2.Programa de Genética Humana, ICBM, Facultad de MedicinaUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile
  3. 3.Departamento de Producción Animal, Facultad de Ciencias AgronómicasUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile
  4. 4.AQUAINNOVO S.A.Puerto MonttChile

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