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The importance of the zebrafish in biomedicine

For those who have read about studies involving zebrafish and wondered how such a tiny fish can help advance research on human health, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, has your answer. From a post yesterday on the NIH Director's Blog:

...Well, it turns out that more than 75% of the genes that have been implicated in human diseases have counterparts in the zebrafish. So, if we discover a mutation in a human, we can make the corresponding mutation in the zebrafish gene—and often get a pretty good idea of how the gene works, how the mutation causes havoc, and how it causes disease in humans. We can even use the zebrafish to test potential drug candidates, to see whether they can alter or fix the symptoms before moving on to mice or humans.

Previously: Cellular-level video of brain activity in a zebrafish, Researchers create glowing fish to illuminate health effects of environmental chemicals and A very small fish with very big potential
Photo by Wellcome Images

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