Go Fish! A little striped minnow known as Zebrafish ( Danio rerio ) has a big impact on scientific research into human development and disease.
• Why Fish? Fish eggs are laid in the water and fertilized externally, so they can be collected immediately. Embryos are transparent, making it easy to watch the development as it unfolds. In 24 hours, a single cell in a fertilized egg transforms into something that resembles a tiny fish– for a mouse this process takes around 21 days. Start by watching this 40 second clip of the first 24 hours of the life of a fish. I promise the last few seconds hold a special delight!
Then see this stunning choreography of all 16,000 individual cells of a live embryo revealed by laser fluorescent microscopy. Images were acquired at 1.5 billion voxels per minute to give us digital embryos that are the first complete record of cell positions, divisions, and migratory tracks of any vertebrate animal. The entire database, including 15 movies, has been made available to the public.
• Fish for Fun. Originally from the Ganges river and endemic to the Himalayan region of the world, zebrafish are widely available, cheap and easy to breed in a tank. For fun, a fanstastic colorful array of engineered GloFish® are sold in aquariums: GloFish® Fluorescent Fish Video! (Blue/Actinic Light)
• Fishy Fact. Did you know that an important determinant of skin color was discovered by researchers intrigued by the golden hued zebrafish? The gene SLC24A5 codes for a sodium/calcium/potassium exchanger in pigment cells (melanocytes). A single nucleotide polymorphism alters the activity of the transporter and the development of pigment. Humans of European ancestry have the threonine variant resulting in lighter skin, whereas people of East Asian, indigenous American and African descent have alanine in this position. Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SLC24A5
Sources: Sources: http://www.fishforscience.com/
For #ScienceSunday curated by Allison Sekuler and Robby Bowles .