Book Chapter

JAK/STATS in Zebrafish

The zebrafish has emerged over the last decade as a powerful model system for understanding molecular and cellular aspects of vertebrate development and disease processes. Because of the implications for, and applications to human health, the vast majority of work on JAK and STAT function has been done in mammalian systems, primarily in the mouse and in human cell lines. However, apart from natural curiosity, there are two important reasons to consider JAK and STAT biology in non-human systems. Firstly, an evolutionary perspective will shed light on which features of mammalian JAK/STAT function are conserved, and which are peculiarities of mammalian development and physiology. Second, the technical advantages that many organisms possess over mammals, particularly in genetic screening and embryological manipulation means that certain questions are relatively simple to answer in these systems, producing insight that would be impossible or financially prohibitive to achieve in mammals. Thus, the exploration of JAK/STAT function in non-mammalian model systems is a critical complementary line of investigation for a thorough understanding of these fascinating signaling molecules.


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