Why zebrafish?

Why are we passionate about zebrafish? Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is a widely recognized vertebrate model organism in scientific research and is of both fundamental and translational importance. The zebrafish owes much of its success to the transparent embryos that can be harvested easily and manipulated from fertilization. Many characteristics make it a valuable model for studying fundamental physiology, human genetics and disease.

  • The zebrafish is small and robust, and can be maintained in large numbers in a relatively small space
  • Full annotation of the zebrafish genome is publicly available.
  • Zebrafish have a similar genetic architecture to humans. They share 70% of genes with us.
  • Zebrafish mature rapidly and produce hundreds of offspring at weekly intervals.
  • Zebrafish embryos are nearly transparent allowing for microscopic visualisation of cells and cellular processes.
  • Embryos are can easily be exposed to pharmaca, antibodies, endocrines, or toxicants by microinjection or via the ambient culture medium.
  • There are many mutants and mutation carrier lines available.
  • They are amenable to various forms of genetic manipulation, for example by CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing.
  • Studying the (evolutionary older) zebrafish allows for understanding fundamental, core mechanisms

Our research spans and integrates gene regulation, cell signalling, tissue functioning, and whole-organism physiology; to understand how animals respond to environmental changes and within the contexts of animal welfare, aquaculture and translational disease models. Read more under Our Research Themes.