Zebrafish, the human genome and disease

May 3rd, 2013 azgardens

We have discussed at length the benefits of aquariums, particularly benefits pertaining to emotional health, but it seems that aquarium fish, one in particular, may soon start saving lives and helping cure diseases. The heroic fish is none other than the zebrafish, many calling it the most popular aquarium fish in the world. While many enjoy seeing it saunter behind the glass, we should be admiring it for its regenerative abilities. It is able to regenerate almost every part of its body, including fins, skin and heart! If only we could regenerate our limbs and organs!


In the article, “Tiny fish offers big hopes in fighting diseases,” Channel News Asia reports, “The tiny striped fish – Danio rerio in Latin – has 26,000 genes, 70 percent of which are shared with humans. Eighty-four percent of genes known to be associated with human disease have a zebrafish counterpart.” That is a rather large percentage. Chimpanzees, for instance, are 96% to 98% similar to humans, but what they lack is the regenerative abilities of the zebrafish.


The genome similarities between man and zebrafish allow researchers and scientists to look for variations. Is there a deeper secret behind its stellar regenerative abilities? Considering the zebrafish has already helped to shed new light on cancer and heart disease, the sky’s really the limit to what this fascinating aquarium fish can teach us about ourselves.



One day, an aquarium fish may save your life.




Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/health/tiny-fish-offers-big/642192.html


Video courtesy of DNews

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