Behavioral Research Blog

Testing PCBs toxicity - behavior in zebrafish and their offspring

Posted by G. Smit on Oct 8, 2013

PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are synthetic molecules that were used in transformers, electric motors, and more applications from the 1930s onwards. It was quickly discovered that these molecules are toxic, and subsequently, they were banned. Still, their heavy use then and their long half-life still cause PCB contamination today. As dietary intake is the main source of exposure, it often finds its way into our food chains trough fish. It has been linked to alterations in reproduction, the endocrine system, and organ functioning in both animals and humans. In addition, epidemiological studies have found a link between PCB exposure and ADHD.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, zebrafish, exploratory behavior, T-maze, light/dark challenge, toxicity, activity monitoring

Zebrafish research: behavioral differences between wild-type strains

Posted by G. Smit on Aug 20, 2013

Often in animal research, animals with a certain genetic alteration are compared to a “wild-type” (this being the ‘normal’ rat, mouse, or zebrafish). One might assume that there is no difference between one wild-type animal and the next, but in fact, many different strains of wild-type animals are used.

Many wild-type zebrafish strains
The same is true for zebrafish. Many studies talk of wild-type animals, but the strain is not always mentioned. Furthermore, wild-type fish can be acquired at the pet shop, from a commercial scientific supplier, or simply caught in the wild. Vignet et al. noticed that there have been reports of differences in behavior between wild-type strains, and therefore they stress the importance of matching the most appropriate strain to the behavioral test.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, fish, zebrafish, exploratory behavior, learning and memory, anxiety research, circadian rhytmicity, T-maze, color discrimination, novel tank test, light/dark challenge, bottom dwelling

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