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Diabetes is estimated to have cost the United States over $327 billion in 2017 alone and it affects over 600 million people worldwide. Over 90% of all diagnosed patients have type 2 diabetes which is defined by insulin resistance in target organs and the failure of pancreatic beta-cells to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is largely correlated with lifestyle choices with one major factor being an individual’s diet. The goal of this study was to develop a zebrafish model to study diet-induced type 2 diabetes and its heritable epigenetic modifications to the genome. Zebrafish were used because they share 84% of protein coding genes with humans and their pancreatic functions are similar. To start the study fish were placed on a high fat diet, normal fat diet, and a low fat diet for two months before they started mating. Unfortunately, no offspring were produced but fasting blood glucose levels were obtained. The high fat group had an average blood glucose of 55 mg/dl (n=6), the normal fat group had an average blood glucose level of 46 mg/dl (n=5), and the low fat group had an average blood glucose reading of 26 mg/dl (n=5). The project did not reach its final goal, which would have been to get an indication of glucose levels in the offspring of each group and then see how genes associated with type 2 diabetes were differentially methylated, but the project did get information on the parent’s fasting blood glucose levels and has been a good pilot for future studies focusing on type 2 diabetes in zebrafish.
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Chipman, Ryan Craig, "Developing Danio Rerio as a Model to Study Diet-Induced Type 2 Diabetes and its Epigenetic Impacts" (2019). Senior Projects Spring 2019. 12.