Since its introduction in early 1980s, the zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become an invaluable vertebrate animal model system to study many human disorders in almost all systems, from hepatic and brain pathology, to autoimmune and psychiatric disorders. Hematopoiesis between zebrafish and mammals is highly conserved, making the zebrafish an attractive model to study hematopoietic development and blood disorders. Unique attributes of the zebrafish include the ability to perform large-scale genetic and chemical screens in vivo, study development at the cellular level, and use transgenic fish to dissect mechanisms of disease or drug effects. This review summarizes major discoveries that helped define molecular control of hematopoiesis in vertebrates and specific contributions from studies in zebrafish.

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Photo of Len Zon

The Zon laboratory aims to dissect how assaults to the hematopoietic system cause severe diseases such as leukemias, lymphomas, and anemias. They investigate hematopoietic development and disease using chemical screens, genetic screens, and analysis of novel transgenic lines in zebrafish.

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