Zebrafish as an in vivo model to assess epigenetic effects of ionizing radiation

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Original languageEnglish
Article number2108
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2016



Exposure to ionizing radiations (IRs) is ubiquitous in our environment and can be categorized into “targeted” effects and “non-targeted” effects. In addition to inducing deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage, IR exposure leads to epigenetic alterations that do not alter DNA sequence. Using an appropriate model to study the biological effects of radiation is crucial to better understand IR responses as well as to develop new strategies to alleviate exposure to IR. Zebrafish, Danio rerio, is a scientific model organism that has yielded scientific advances in several fields and recent studies show the usefulness of this vertebrate model in radiation biology. This review briefly describes both “targeted” and “non-targeted” effects, describes the findings in radiation biology using zebrafish as a model and highlights the potential of zebrafish to assess the epigenetic effects of IR, including DNA methylation, histone modifications and miRNA expression. Other in vivo models are included to compare observations made with zebrafish, or to illustrate the feasibility of in vivo models when the use of zebrafish was unavailable. Finally, tools to study epigenetic modifications in zebrafish, including changes in genome-wide DNA methylation, histone modifications and miRNA expression, are also described in this review.

Research Area(s)

  • Epigenetic effects, Ionizing radiation, Zebrafish embryos

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