The toxicological application of transcriptomics and epigenomics in zebrafish and other teleosts

Timothy Williams, Leda Mirbahai, J Kevin Chipman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is one of a number of teleost fish species frequently employed in toxicology. Toxico-genomics determines global transcriptomic responses to chemical exposures and can predict their effects. It has been applied successfully within aquatic toxicology to assist in chemical testing, determination of mechanisms and environmental monitoring. Moreover, the related field of toxico-epigenomics, that determines chemical-induced changes in DNA methylation, histone modifications and micro-RNA expression, is emerging as a valuable contribution to understanding mechanisms of both adaptive and adverse responses. Zebrafish has proven a useful and convenient model species for both transcriptomic and epigenetic toxicological studies. Despite zebrafish's dominance in other areas of fish biology, alternative fish species are used extensively in toxico-genomics. The main reason for this is that environmental monitoring generally focuses on species native to the region of interest. We are starting to see advances in the integration of high-throughput screening, omics techniques and bioinformatics together with more traditional indicator endpoints that are relevant to regulators. Integration of such approaches with high-throughput testing of zebrafish embryos, leading to the discovery of adverse outcome pathways, promises to make a major contribution to ensuring the safety of chemicals in the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-71
Number of pages15
JournalBriefings in Functional Genomics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


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