For a workshop, sponsored by ORIP/NIH end of July, we are seeking community feedback to discuss and assess the needs and challenges of developing defined diets and optimized feed management strategies that will support normal zebrafish development and physiology and will facilitate the analysis of phenotypes in a standardized nutritional environment. This will promote rigor and reproducibility in some zebrafish studies and enhance the use of zebrafish and other aquatic models in biomedical research.
A more detailed description of workshop purpose and objectives is below. The organizers would very much appreciate your thoughts on the issue. Please provide your feedback through this survey:
Workshop Organizing Committee (WOC) members:
Diana Baumann (Stowers Institute for Medical Research, MO)
Lilianna Solnica-Krezel (Washington University School of Medicine, MO)
John Rawls (Duke University School of Medicine, NC)
Robert Tanguay (Oregon State University, OR)
Zoltan Varga (ZIRC, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR)
Stephen A. Watts (Chair; University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL)
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Workshop: Defined Diets for Zebrafish and Other Aquatic Biomedical Research Models: Needs and Challenges
ORIP/DPCPSI/OD-NIH sponsored Workshop
Purpose of the Meeting: Aquatic animal species, such as zebrafish (Danio rerio), are powerful models for studying human development, behavior, genetics, and disease. The ability to produce transgenic and mutant lines provides biomedical researchers with many options for developing models of human diseases and for developing relevant therapeutic approaches. Different facilities and laboratories use a variety of diets and feeding protocols to maintain these models. In many laboratories zebrafish are reared with a combination of live feed (ex vivo) and/or one of many undefined commercial diets. Commercial diets used in zebrafish husbandry differ significantly in ingredient and nutrient composition and often contain preservatives, lakes, dyes, antinutritional factors, or bioactive food compounds. Studies indicate that the length, weight, sexual maturation, fecundity, and mortality of zebrafish can vary significantly with different diets. Unfortunately, impacts of diet on zebrafish health and behavior and corresponding implications for zebrafish research outcomes are not well described. Currently, the daily dietary nutrient requirements of almost all nutrients have not been investigated. There is also no consensus among aquatic facilities, researchers, and commercial vendors on nutritional requirements at various life stages (i.e., larval, juvenile, and adult) or for particular research applications to minimize husbandry variations among aquatic facilities or laboratories. Complicit in this lack of consensus is a community-wide lack of understanding of the role of nutrition in animal development, health, and research outcomes. To address this gap, the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP) is sponsoring a workshop to bring together members of the zebrafish scientific community, with expertise in zebrafish and other aquatic and relevant models, for a day of discussion. The workshop attendees will assess the needs and challenges of developing defined diets and optimized feed management strategies that will support normal zebrafish development and physiology and will facilitate the analysis of phenotypes in a standardized nutritional environment. Standardization and education will promote rigor and reproducibility in some zebrafish studies and enhance the use of zebrafish and other aquatic models in biomedical research.
- Review diet development strategies, where available, in other biomedical model species.
- Assess the current nutrition status of zebrafish.
- Describe the need for defined diets for maintenance and experimental stocks, including assessment of life stage requirements.
- Discuss the potential impact of defined diets on genetic stocks used in biomedical research, their effect on development, physiology and expressivity of disease/mutant phenotypes.
- Identify obstacles and evaluate strategies that may lead to a successful consensus, acceptance, and implementation of defined diets among the different scientific community stakeholders.
- Define an educational approach to informing the community and associated partners (journals, organizations, granting agencies, etc.)
- Determine whether/how the approach to develop a defined diet for zebrafish could be applied to other aquatic models, and animal models in general.