The use of zebrafish (Danio rerio) in lab research is becoming a popular alternative to rodents like mice or rats. The fish are better than rodents in several ways when it comes to their use in research science. They are cheaper to maintain and reproduce much faster than rodents. However, for studies involving mammalian traits and brain disorders, rodents are still the primary animal for research laboratories. The number of zebrafish used for scientific research continues to grow each year but rodents were used ten times more than any other animal in published biomedical research in 2010. Zebrafish have been used to study cancer, stem cells, blood diseases, autism, muscle diseases, and diseases with genetic mutations.
Research with zebrafish offers many benefits when compared to other animal models. Zebrafish are vertebrates and share many sequence and functional homology with humans. The zebrafish genome has been fully sequenced and research shows that 70 percent of human protein-coding genes are related to genes found in the zebrafish and that 84 percent of genes known to be associated with human disease have a zebrafish counterpart. For this reason, studies in zebrafish can give great information on human disease mechanisms. Zebrafish are also easier to care for than mammals. The small size and simple nature of fish is easier makes it easier to accommodate to natural conditions than it is for mammals. This reduces stress and the impact that stress may have on research results.…show more content… A female zebrafish can lay hundreds of eggs a week and it only takes three months for fish to develop into adults. This is a much faster development time and also a bigger generation of offspring when compared to a mammal such as a rat. This makes zebrafish, and fish in general, a very valuable model for research because you don’t have to wait as long to track changes in