Zebrafish: To Cure Eyesight, Cancer, Heart & Kidney Disease

Exotic zebrafish, first discovered in Southeast Asia, are popularly kept as aquarium pets due to their ability to tolerate both tropical and subtropical climates. 

Scientists also rely on them for medical research, particularly the development of novel drugs – thanks to their remarkable self-healing capabilities that have been exploited through genetic modification by researchers.

These miniature creatures share similar genetic structures to us, which is why researchers are so keen on studying zebrafish; their nervous systems closely resemble our own. 

Scientists use these fish in many of their experiments to gain a better understanding of how the human brain functions and alters over time. 

Just as humans do, zebrafish can demonstrate age-related changes in both behavior and biology, an invaluable resource for developing new treatments for various ailments.

In hopes of discovering ways to counteract the effects of aging and promote healthy brain functioning, researchers have turned to zebrafish for answers.

Below are a few areas being examined through this research:

Zebrafish For The Treatment Of Eyesight

As we all know by now, zebrafish have similar anatomy and genetics to us, humans. 

Scientists are researching zebrafish to understand how its eye develops and how different genes affect eye function as a potential treatment for eye disorders in humans. 

They are also testing the effects of different drugs on the eyes of zebrafish to see if they could be used to treat eye disorders.

For example, researchers have used zebrafish to study the effects of a drug called “Avastin” on eye disorders such as age-related macular degeneration and retinal vein occlusion. 

Avastin has been shown to be effective at slowing the progression of these disorders in zebrafish, and researchers are now testing its effectiveness in humans.

Zebrafish  For The Treatment Of Cancer

Zebrafish is a useful model organism for cancer research because they have several advantages compared to traditional cell models and murine models.

Some of the advantages are: they have a large number of offspring, enable high-confidence statistical analysis, have a similar genetic makeup to humans and have shorter lifespans which enable researchers to study their whole life transitions. 

The transparency of zebrafish embryos and the development of mutants without pigmentation, such as the Casper zebrafish, allows for visualization of cancer processes. 

They can also be placed in 96-well plates, which makes it easy to test many different chemical compounds at the same time. 

Several approaches to induce cancer in zebrafish have been developed, including mutation, transgenesis, and transplantation techniques.

Zebrafish  For The Treatment Of Heart Disease

Zebrafish are particularly advantageous for the research of heart disease due to their transparent embryos and external fertilization, which allows researchers to easily observe and manipulate the progression of their cardiovascular system. 

The similarity between human and zebrafish cardiovascular anatomy makes them an excellent models for studying heart disease, as well as testing potential treatments.

In the last few years, zebrafish have been used by scientists to investigate a broad range of cardiovascular disorders – from heart failure and hypertension to arrhythmias. 

They have also utilized zebrafish in identifying potential medications that could be used to fight off heart disease in humans. 

With this discovery, they are hopeful of being able to revolutionize the way we treat cardiovascular conditions and improve the lives of many people around the globe.

Zebrafish  For The Treatment Of Kidney Disease

For the treatment of kidney disease, the Zebrafish study has the potential to advance our understanding of this important organ and the development of new treatments for kidney-related conditions. 

Like humans, zebrafish have a functional renal system that is essential for maintaining proper electrolyte balance, regulating blood pressure, and eliminating waste products from the body.

Researchers have used zebrafish to study various kidney-related conditions, such as nephrotoxicity, kidney injury, and kidney failure. 

They have also explored the use of zebrafish in drug discovery, with the goal of identifying new medications that could be used to treat kidney disease in humans.

Zebrafish Gene And Zebrafish Genome Size

The genome of zebrafish is composed of the entire set of genetic instructions found in its DNA, unlocking a vast repository of information that can be used to further understand this species. 

Extensive research into the genome of zebrafish has allowed scientists to comprehend how various genes function, and how they may correlate with human genetics. 

Everything needed to establish and sustain a zebrafish is included in this resource. Despite its relatively small size, the zebrafish genome is quite substantial in terms of gene count. 

It contains anywhere between 30,000-35,000 genes despite only having a total of 1.5 billion base pairs. 

Overall, the zebrafish genome is a useful tool for scientists who want to understand how different genes work in zebrafish.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Zebrafish As A Model Organism

S.N Advantage Disadvantage
1. Transparent embryos Limited genetic variation
2. External fertilization Limited organ complexity
3. Rapid development Ethical considerations
4. Similar anatomy and physiology to humans Limited behavioral complexity
5. Low cost Limited genetic tools

Advantages:

Transparent embryos: Zebrafish embryos are transparent, which allows for easy observation and manipulation of organ development.

External fertilization: Zebrafish reproduce through external fertilization, making it simple to engineer the genetics of offspring.

Rapid development: Zebrafish have a short lifespan which helps researchers in the study of disease development and progression over a relatively short period.

Similar anatomy and physiology to humans: Zebrafish have similar cardiovascular and renal anatomy to humans, making them useful for studying these systems.

Low cost: Zebrafish are inexpensive to maintain and breed, making them a cost-effective option for research.

Disadvantages:

Limited genetic variation: Zebrafish have limited genetic variation compared to humans, which may limit the generalizability of findings from zebrafish studies.

Limited organ complexity: The organs of zebrafish are less complicated than those of humans, which might hinder their usefulness for studying certain diseases/conditions.

Ethical considerations:  A few researchers may have ethical concerns using zebrafish in experiments, especially if the research involves causing harm to the animals.

Limited behavioral complexity: Zebrafish have relatively plain behaviors compared to other animals, which may obstruct their usefulness for studying certain behaviors or cognitive processes.

Limited genetic tools: There are fewer genetic tools available for studying zebrafish compared to other model organisms, such as mice or fruit flies.