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An Adult Zebrafish

Danio rerio is a petite, fresh water fish commonly known as the zebrafish. The zebrafish gets its name from the stripes that run along the length of its body and fins and the adult fish is usually no more than 5cm long. This fish lives in rivers of northern India, Pakistan, northern Pakistan, Nepal, and Bhutan in South Asia.

The zebrafish is an idyllic model organism because of:

  • The petite size.

  • The short period of time required for reproduction.

  • The large number of offsprings.

  • Easy sustenance under laboratory conditions.

  • The translucence nature of the embryos.


The mutations that hamper the development of the embryo have been sequestered in the fish and will assist in interpreting the genetic control system in humans.


The Zebrafish Model Organism Database.” ZFIN. Accessed September 25, 2013zfin.org/.


What are Model Organisms?

Model organisms are species which have limited complications in terms of breeding and sustaining under laboratory conditions. Model organisms are chosen based on their wide experimental characteristics.

Data is collected in abundance about the relative organisms and as such it is divided into three categories, genetic, experimental and genomic model organisms.

Genetic model organism is chosen based on their short life spans and their large reproducing numbers. Therefore genetic crosses can be set up on large scale over a number of generations which resulting in gene mapping and other phenomenon. An example is the mouse.

Experimental model organisms tend differ from the genetic model organism because of the extensive generation and insignificant genetic map details. However they tend to have other robust characteristics that can be of easy study and flexibility. An example is the African clawed frog.

Genomic model organisms are selected because of two reasons: their fundamental role in evolutionary equilibrium and/ or the superiority of their genome. An example is the puffer fish.


What is a model organism? – Encyclopedia of Life.” Encyclopedia of Life – Animals – Plants – Pictures & Information. Accessed September 26, 2013 http://eol.org/info/466.