The next big thing in medical research is zebrafish, which are believed to have about 70 per cent of their genes identical to those of human race. In the past, researchers have made use of rodents – especially rats and mice in the laboratories. Zebrafish are available in abundance in the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, thus making it easier in these states to curb the use of rodents and use more of these fish for carrying out the research. This tiny fish has become a prime source for researchers, including those in India to study about various diseases and their treatments, including muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, cancers, narcolepsy, embryo development and heart regeneration.
Professor of Zoology and Principal of the College of Science & Technology, Andhra University, Prof D. E. Babu told TOI, “The zebrafish comes in handy with its multitude of benefits like shorter gestation period, capability to produce a huge number of offspring and the transparent embryos allowing real-time imaging of pathogenesis. Through transgenesis (introducing an exogenous gene into a living organism, so that the organism will exhibit a new property and transmit that property to its offspring), researchers can study many generations of a zebrafish within a shorter period.”
Reportedly, the researchers at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) studied the zebrafish model in microvillus inclusion disease recently. Researchers at the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi, are studying the charge syndrome in these tiny fish.
Karthik Maddula, faculty in Department of Pharmaco-logy at the Bharat Institute of Technology (DPBIT), Hyderabad reportedly said, “Zebrafish, whose embryos are easily manipulable because of their size and the ease of gene manipulation make zebrafish embryos a felicitous vertebrate system to examine.”
Here’s to new strides in research and science!