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Danionella cerebrum – a new model fish extends opportunities to study development compared to its larger relative the zebrafish

23 March 2023

Next Top Model

One member of the minnow family (Cyprinidae) zebrafish (Danio rerio) are often found in research labs across the world. Thanks to their transparent embryos and genetic similarities to humans, these fish offer unique opportunities for researchers to watch how a body is built. But they're only transparent up to a point making later steps in development inaccessible to see. Now a ‘new fish in town’ could be the next top model organism. It’s another type of minnow called Danionella cerebrum that remains transparent until adulthood allowing researchers to use advanced imaging techniques to study development, and even ageing, for longer. Researchers successfully adapted imaging techniques which allowed them to track changes in immune cells (green) and blood vessels (magenta) deep within D.cerebrum’s brain for several days (pictured), resulting in an exciting new tool for researchers to learn more about adult-onset diseases in organs deeper in the body than before.

Written by Sophie Arthur

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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