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NIH Wants More Zebrafish Screening Tools

By a GenomeWeb Staff Reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Seeking to "exploit the power of the zebrafish" as a model vertebrate for a wide range of biomedical research areas, the National Institutes of Health will fund investigators developing new genetic screens for this useful animal, according to a new NIH funding announcement.

The program will provide up to $500,000 per year for scientists developing genetic screens that will advance the ability to detect and characterize genes, pathways, and phenotypes of interest for aging, development, organ formation, sensory processes, disease processes, and other areas.

Earlier related NIH-funded efforts have resulted in the development of resources, tools, and genetic screens for zebrafish mutants, and methodologies that have been useful for the zebrafish research community.

This funding program aims to support studies to develop genetic screens for areas of interest to NIH institutes, and to pilot testing studies of existing phenotypic screening methods applied to high-throughput characterization of mutants generated by large-sale mutagenesis projects.

Scientists applying to this program may pursue a range of zebrafish screening tools, including but not limited to: development or application of novel screens for mutants based on observations of altered morphology, physiology, or behavior; screens that identify genetic modifiers of genes or variants involved in pathways of particular interest; screens that analyze the genetic basis of adult phenotypes for behavior, aging, organ disease, cancer, and others; development of high-throughput small molecular screens; and screens identifying novel developmental genes and pathways such as mediating sensitivity or resistance to environmental teratogens.

The program stems from an initiative started by the Institutes and Centers of the Trans-NIH Zebrafish Coordinating Committee (TZCC) uncer the co-chairmanship of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases,

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