Zebrafish Essay

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One should not think that because zebrafish (Danio rerio) are fishes that they are in some ways less than any mammalian species. They certainly are not. Zebrafish are small shoaling cyprinids, named after the prominent black and white stripes patterns of the adults. Native to the Indian subcontinent, those laterally compressed organisms are widely distributed in slow moving streams and stagnant habitats. Where existent, zebrafish are typically the most abundant species (McClure, et al., 2006, p. 562). They also have a short generation time which allows large numbers to hatch in a short period of time. The species has become popular among enthusiasts due to its hardiness, cold resistance, and facility of breeding. Over the years, selective breeding have created numerous different strands. Zebrafish are mostly known for their transparency, their short growth cycle, and their high ability to regenerate. Although regeneration does take place at some low rate in mammals, this regenerative capability is unfortunately impotent and neither sufficiently restores damaged tissue. Upon maturity, they lose the ability to replenish cells at lesion sites. On the contrary, zebrafish are able to retain the capacity to regenerate throughout adult life. The zebrafish are highly regenerative animals with the ability to heal injuries to the heart, retina, and other tissues. In an experiment conducted by Azevedo et al. (2011, p. 1), the regeneration capacity of zebrafish was studied using a designed experiment in which the fin of the fish was repeatedly amputated. The objective of this particular study was to determine whether fin regeneration is limited. This experiment was designed to investigate the effect that recurrent fin amputations and expe... ... middle of paper ... ... The scientists found that the hearts regrew without sccaring subsequent to injury. They found that the regeneration in the zebrafish heart is not driven by stem cells but rather by the proliferation of the existing cardiomyocytes (muscle cells of the heart). They also point out that the exhibition of this regenerative response could be due to heart enlargement via hypertrophy or hyperplasia. While findings of these experiments do not suggest the ability of the zebrafish to regenerate from a single stem cell, they do indicate that the animals rely on their unlimited regenerative capacity to heal after injury. The fact that they can rapidly regrow body parts with scaring show how intriguing these small organisms are. The mechanisms involved in regeneration in zebrafish have provided insight into human biological processes, due to its genetic similarity to humans.
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