Zebrafish. This small little fish is a vertebrate, and a relatively complex one at that. Looking at all the major neurotransmitters and hormones that are investigated in neuroscience, they are as good of a model as many mammalian species. Indeed, recent studies have shown how they are ideal for testing in behavioral domains such as anxiety, sociality, sleep, reward, and cognition.
Do you attend conferences? Imagine networking with 30,000 fellow neuroscientists in beautiful San Diego, California. Now add the sun-soaked beaches (yes, even in November), a 0% chance of rain, many social events, and 15,000 scientific presentations: that’s why you should attend Neuroscience 2013! Not convinced yet? Here are 10 reasons why you should attend Neuroscience 2013!
(1) Beautiful San Diego
Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, The Observer XT, fish, drosophila, zebrafish, DanioVision, Track3D, Tracking insects, Animal 3D tracking, open field test, CatWalk XT, PhenoTyper, T-maze, bottom dwelling, top 10, neuroscience, SfN
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.
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.
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
Scrolling through our recent blogs, you can tell how important zebrafish have become in behavioral research. So we thought it was time to tell you a little more about some popular paradigms. Starting with the T-maze.