College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Danio rerio (Zebrafish)
Scientific Name: Danio rerio
- Small, tropical freshwater fish that are popular in aquariums.
- Embryos are clear and develop externally from the mother, making it a useful vertebrate model organism to study human embryo development.
- Given similarities to humans at the DNA level, zebrafish are also used to study human diseases such as skin cancer, obesity, and blood diseases.
- Serves as a model for regenerative medicine because of its ability to regenerate fin tissue.
Which UI Department of Biology researchers study this organism:
Why UI Department of Biology researchers use this organism:
- Study how cells communicate with one another to form networks that are critical in developmental processes such as body plan formation and organ formation.
- Zebrafish are also used as a model for Bardet-Biedl syndrome, a human disease characterized by early onset obesity, polydactyly, kidney malformations, hypogenitalism, learning disabilities and retinal degeneration as well as an increased susceptibility of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and congenital heart disease.