Small molecule screening in zebrafish: Swimming in potential drug therapies

Owen J. Tamplin, Richard M. White, Lili Jing, Charles K. Kaufman, Scott A. Lacadie, Pulin Li, Alison M. Taylor, Leonard I. Zon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Phenotype-driven chemical genetic screens in zebrafish have become a proven approach for both dissection of developmental mechanisms and discovery of potential therapeutics. A library of small molecules can be arrayed into multiwell plates containing zebrafish embryos. The embryo becomes a whole organism in vivo bioassay that can produce a phenotype upon treatment. Screens have been performed that are based simply on the morphology of the embryo. Other screens have scored complex phenotypes using whole mount in situ hybridization, fluorescent transgenic reporters, and even tracking of embryo movement. The availability of many well-characterized zebrafish mutants has also enabled the discovery of chemical suppressors of genetic phenotypes. Importantly, the application of chemical libraries that already contain FDA-approved drugs has allowed the rapid translation of hits from zebrafish chemical screens to clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-468
Number of pages10
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012


Dive into the research topics of 'Small molecule screening in zebrafish: Swimming in potential drug therapies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this