Caudal fin regeneration in zebrafish

Halloween is right around the corner and you will soon be seeing various spooky creatures parading down the streets: ghosts, wizards and zombies which might even be missing a limb. While ghosts and wizards are usually classified as magical creatures, zombies have something in them which make them slightly more real. A zombie is an animated corpse which has been brought back to life and although resurrection remains completely unreal, regenerative medicine has been working on replacing and regenerating defective cells, tissues and organs with the goal of restoring normal function. Some animals…

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Zebrafish larvae as a model to decision-making processes – a case study

We make thousands of decisions every day. It has been estimated that we make around 220 decisions each day only related to food (1). Choice is fundamental for our lives, as well as for the behaviour of all the other animals. Making a decision requires to integrate physiological and psychological information to choose a course of action or a belief among several available options.Understanding the mechanisms by which animals integrate information from their senses over space and time to make sensory-motor decisions is at the core of the reviewed article…

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Precise spatiotemporal genome editing in Zebrafish using CRISPR/Cas9

Since 1901, Nobel Prizes have been awarded to “those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind”, in Alfred Nobel’s words1. Last year, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna were awarded with this recognized prize in the field of chemistry for their contributions to the genetic engineering tool known as CRISPR/Cas92.CRISPR/Cas9 has been extensively studied and meticulously developed during these last years for efficient and precise genome editing. In this article, we will review the scientific paper: Spatiotemporal Control of CRISPR/Cas9 Function in Cells and Zebrafish using…

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Zebrafish as a model to study the toxicity of different pesticides – a case study

Since 1974, World Environment Day has been celebrated every year on 5 June, so this month we want to acknowledge this event by reviewing a scientific article where zebrafish are used to test the toxicity of certain pesticides: Toxicity of Deltamethrin to Zebrafish Gonads Revealed by Cellular Biomarkers 1, published in Journal of Marine Science and Engineering on January 23th, 2020.This article investigates the chronic effects of deltamethrin, a synthetic insecticide extensively used in pest control, on gonads. For doing so, the authors of the mentioned article exposed zebrafish adults…

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Zebrafish to study a broken heart: macrophages’ implication in scar formation after a heart attack

In this series of articles, we review some of the key scientific publications of 2020 which included zebrafish in their studies. This review will cover an article published in Nature Communications on January 30th, 2020: Macrophages directly contribute collagen to scar formation during zebrafish heart regeneration and mouse heart repair1.This article challenges the current model of scarring after a heart attack and implicates macrophages, a type of white blood cell of the immune system, as direct contributors to collagen deposition during this process.Heart attack and heart failureScarring process after a…

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Man-made chemicals PFAS surround us, and you did not even know about their toxic effect: what zebrafish can tell us

In this series of articles, we review some of the key scientific publications of 2020 which included zebrafish in their studies. This second review will cover an article published in Environmental Health Perspective on April 9th 2020: Evaluation of Developmental Toxicity, Developmental Neurotoxicity, and Tissue Dose in Zebrafish Exposed to GenX and Other PFAS1.In this article, the authors have studied the toxicology of different PFAS, short for poly and perfluoroalkyl substances, which are substances widely present in our daily life.PFAS and concerns about their useGrouping PFAS based on shared toxicity…

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Studying breast cancer with zebrafish: a case study

In this new series of articles, we will review some of the key scientific publications of 2020 which included zebrafish in their studies. This first review will cover an article published in Clinical Cancer Research on March 15th 2020: Deubiquitinase Activity Profiling Identifies UCHL1 as a Candidate Oncoprotein that Promotes TGFβ-induced breast cancer metastasis1.In this article, the authors have focused their research on a subset of proteins involved in the tumour cell intracellular degradation pathway as a potential treatment for breast cancer. To get a full comprehensive overview of the…

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Small model organisms

Over the past years, zebrafish have proven to be excellent model systems for a wide panel of experiments. We have discussed throughout our previous articles their advantages and disadvantages, how they could be incorporated to various research fields and different automation techniques which facilitate their handling in laboratories. Today we will discuss 4 other model organisms: Drosophila melanogaster, Xenopus laevis, Caenorhabditis elegans and Arabidopsis thaliana, all have in common their genetic similarity to humans, their ease of care and prolific breeding. While this last feature is particularly useful for studies requiring…

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Studying zebrafish behaviour: robotics and automation

In today's article we will take a step back from zebrafish embryos and discuss how adult zebrafish collective behaviours can be studied using robotic systems.Danio rerio, commonly known as zebrafish is a small but robust cyprinid, commonly found in food plains of the south of Asia, particularly India. They thrive in shallow and slow flowing-waters and can generally be found in standing water bodies, often connected to rice cultivation. This is most likely due to the high content of zooplankton in rice cultivations, a major component of the zebrafish diet. Zebrafish…

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Morphological and phenotypic characteristics of zebrafish embryos

In our modern world, development of new synthetic compounds and chemicals is essential for many industries, such as the pharmaceutical, clothing and food industries. This has become a major public and environmental issue as many of these compounds can be toxic and detrimental to human and animal health. In addition to these artificial toxins, chemicals can occur naturally in the environment such as heavy metals or nitrates. Although it is widely recognised that such compounds can cause damage to life, how harmful they are and how they cause disease needs…

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