Molecular psychiatry of zebrafish

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Abstract

Due to their well-characterized neural development and high genetic homology to mammals, zebrafish (Danio rerio) have emerged as a powerful model organism in the field of biological psychiatry. Here, we discuss the molecular psychiatry of zebrafish, and its implications for translational neuroscience research and modeling central nervous system (CNS) disorders. In particular, we outline recent genetic and technological developments allowing for in vivo examinations, high-throughput screening and whole-brain analyses in larval and adult zebrafish. We also summarize the application of these molecular techniques to the understanding of neuropsychiatric disease, outlining the potential of zebrafish for modeling complex brain disorders, including attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), aggression, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse. Critically evaluating the advantages and limitations of larval and adult fish tests, we suggest that zebrafish models become a rapidly emerging new field in modern molecular psychiatry research.

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