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Zebrafish embryos and larvae in behavioural assays

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Zebrafish embryos and early larvae are becoming increasingly important as models in biomedical research because of their low cost, high throughput and potential as a replacement for adult, higher vertebrate model species. The functional domains of drug targets, and other functionally important proteins, are often highly conserved between the zebrafish and mammals. Furthermore, the zebrafish embryo or larva shows a complex behavioural repertoire only a few days after fertilization. Here, we show how behavioural studies in mammals are being translated to the zebrafish embryo/larva model. We give emphasis to behavioural studies that may be relevant to drug screening or safety toxicology. We show how video tracking hardware and software can be used to provide an automated, high data-content readout for zebrafish behavioural responses. Published behavioural assays using zebrafish developmental stages include responses to dark challenge, acoustic stimuli, novel environments and various pharmacological compounds. Future prospects for zebrafish developmental behavioural studies include the potential to move from 96-well format studies into microfluidic-based embryo cultures. The zebrafish embryo model is already becoming a useful system for identifying molecular-genetic pathways associated with behavioural responses.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Biology, University of Leiden, Sylvius Laboratory, Sylviusweg 72, 2333BE Leiden, The Netherlands; 2: Noldus Information Technology BV, Nieuwe Kanaal 5, P.O. Box 268, 6700 AG Wageningen, The Netherlands

10.1163/1568539X-00003020
/content/journals/10.1163/1568539x-00003020
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2012-01-01
2017-02-21

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