Researchers Rely on Zebrafish to Study Human Health
Zebrafish are a beautiful addition to many home aquariums, but they are also important contributors to biomedical research.
OSU researchers use zebrafish to understand the risks that chemicals and pharmaceuticals pose to human health. The tiny fish are transparent during development, mature rapidly, and share about 80 percent of their genes with humans. This allows scientists to run many tests in a short time on a huge number of subjects.
Zebrafish research being done at OSU includes investigation of pesticide exposure on human embryos and testing whether schizophrenia may be caused by environmental exposure to chemicals during early development. Researchers are also studying how zebrafish regenerate tissue, with the goal of helping people with diseased or injured tissue.
With zebrafish now becoming the new white mice of research, the scientific community has an increased interest in zebrafish health. The OSU College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is a world leader in the identification and study of zebrafish disease. The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at CVM is one of the few labs in the U.S. that offers diagnostic services for zebrafish. Research facilities around the world who are encountering health problems in their zebrafish colonies send samples to the VDL to diagnose their problem. Currently, the VDL is developing and validating new, highly-sensitive, molecular-based diagnostic tests for important diseases of zebrafish.