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Epigenetics in teleost fish: From molecular mechanisms to physiological phenotypes


Epigenetics in teleost fish: From molecular mechanisms to physiological phenotypes

Paul Craig



Status: Submitted

11 Nov 2022
  • epigenetics
  • molecular
  • teleost
  • physiological
  • phenotypes


While the field of epigenetics is increasingly recognized to contribute to the emergence of phenotypes in mammalian research models across different developmental and generational timescales, the comparative biology of epigenetics in the large and physiologically diverse vertebrate infraclass of teleost fish remains comparatively understudied. The cypriniform zebrafish and the salmoniform rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon represent two especially important teleost orders, because they offer the unique possibility to comparatively investigate the role of epigenetic regulation in 3R and 4R duplicated genomes. In addition to their sequenced genomes, these teleost species are well-characterized model species for development and physiology, and therefore allow for an investigation of the role of epigenetic modifications in the emergence of physiological phenotypes during an organism's lifespan and in subsequent generations. This review aims firstly to describe the evolution of the repertoire of genes involved in key molecular epigenetic pathways including histone modifications, DNA methylation and microRNAs in zebrafish, rainbow trout, and Atlantic salmon, and secondly, to discuss recent advances in research highlighting a role for molecular epigenetics in shaping physiological phenotypes in these and other teleost models. Finally, by discussing themes and current limitations of the emerging field of teleost epigenetics from both theoretical and technical points of view, we will highlight future research needs and discuss how epigenetics will not only help address basic research questions in comparative teleost physiology, but also inform translational research including aquaculture, aquatic toxicology, and human disease.

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