Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Zebrafish

The zebrafish, also called “Danio rerio” is a tropical freshwater fish known for its usefulness in scientific research as a vertebrate model organism. It is called zebra because of five uniform, pigmented, horizontal, blue stripes on the side of the body, which are reminiscent of a zebra’s stripes.
Zebrafish are used in lab because they are easy to keep and breed in the lab. They produce large numbers of fertilized eggs on a regular basis (a single female can produce up to 500 eggs each week). Their embryos develop rapidly with precursors to all major organs appearing within 36 hours of fertilization. Its genome is sequenced and easy to manipulate using reverse genetics tools and insertion of transgenes. What is also useful about zebrafish is that its chorion, or egg shell, is clear, which means that developmental processes can be clearly observed under a simple light microscope. 
Zebrafish have been used to make several transgenic models of cancer, including melanoma, and leukemia. They also have been used to model cardiovascular diseases including heart diseases.

We appreciate the use of model organisms such as zebrafish, yeast and drosophila in medical research and the knowledge that they give to scientist. 
Hopefully with more research and studies, many diseases will be cured.

Mohammed Saleh

Sources: Dr. Craig Albertson slides


  1. Really liked your blog, zebra fish are so interesting, I remember learning about them in high school. It would have been cool to talk about how zebra fish have been making a significant impact in transgenic models especially different types of cancers.

    -Zoe Israel