Zebrafish are replacing mice in many scientific studies.
The use of zebrafish in lab testing is becoming a popular alternative to rodents like mice or rats.
The fish are better than rodents in several ways when it comes to their use in research science.
They are cheaper to maintain, and reproduce much faster than the rodents, but for studies involving mammalian traits and brain disorders, rodents are still the go to animal for research laboratories.
The number of zebrafish being used for scientific research continues to grow, but rodents were used ten times more than any other animal in published biomedical research in 2010
Zebrafish are transparent, which means that scientists can see their organs developing, as the fish grows.
Their embryos can be genetically mutated to identify new genes or experiment with the function of different genetic material.
Leonard Zon from Harvard Medical School has used zebrafish in his lab to study cancer, stem cells and blood diseases, while other researchers have used them for autism, muscle disorders and diseases with genetic mutations.
The first drug to be developed with the use of zebrafish was from Zon’s research lab at Harvard University.
What do you think? Are some animals better suited for biomedical research?