The field of ecotoxicology uses biomarkers to assess the health of populations of sentinel organisms and to determine risk associated with environmental chemicals. The tools of modern biology are being used to develop promising new suites of biomarkers that must be rigorously tested and validated within a comprehensive mechanistic understanding of how toxic chemicals in the environment influence basic physiology and behavior. The zebrafish is a well-established laboratory model organism with a well-equipped molecular toolbox for basic biology and biomedicine with logical applications in ecotoxicology. As a model organism for ecotoxicology, the zebrafish can be used to develop mechanistic models of gene-environment interactions that will provide a foundation for the development of genomic resources in other fish species. Integration of mechanistic molecular data from multiple fish species will lead to the development of integrated dynamic models that will enable better diagnosis and treatment of environmental disease and improved ecological risk assessments.
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Vol. 58 • No. 11