Zebra fish (Danio rerio) is a model organism that is primarily used for experimental and genetic research, due to a number of key characteristics. This model organism is frequently used for developmental research due to the embryos being transparent (allows the development of the embryo to be observed) and as the zebra fish lays eggs. Therefore, the embryos are easily accessible. These embryos develop extremely fast and baby zebrafish hatch just two days after fertilisation. Also, all major organ systems develop and then begin to function within the first 5 days after fertilisation; this means development is a very rapid process that can be studied in a short space of time. Other characteristics that make the zebra fish a model organism are:
- It has been genetically sequenced
- It has a developmental process similar to mammals
- It's easy to manipulate genetically
- It's easy to manipulate experimentally (physically and chemically)
- It's capable of regenerating many body parts (e.g. heart, fins)
- Relatively cheap
- ↑ Veldman M, Lin S. Zebrafish as a Developmental Model Organism for Pediatric Research. Developmental Biology: Model Systems - A Series of Reviews 2008; 64(5): 470.