A humble response to Why Danio rerio?
vogt at tbone.biol.scarolina.edu
Thu Jul 21 19:07:44 EST 1994
gnnavtel at gpu.utcc.utoronto.ca (Richard J. Sexton) writes:
>Obligatory Brachydanio content: Why is B. rerio used for study not any
>other member of the genus ?
Stuff happens. This would be better answered by some folks at University
of Oregon, though I was an outsider looking in at several times during
this story, so a briefest view (and I hope the folks at Oregon will
forgive me if some of these details are not completely correct).
For what ever reason (or probably several) George Streisenger chose what
was then called Brachydanio rerio for an extended research project; to
develop a vertebrate into a model organism for studying the genetics of
early development. At the time of his death in the early 70's,
tremendous progress had been made in establishing the necessary ground
work for doing the necessary work with this species. Folks at University
of Oregon were faced with a problem: do they take advantage of a system
with high potential that Streisenger had left them, or do they let it
slide. In what was truely a remarkable effort to watch first hand,
several laboratories began (rapidly) to focus their research efforts on
this organism. And in a testament to the quality of (what is now called)
Danio rerio as a research tool, this research effort has truly exploded
(to the point that the research community asked for increased lines of
communication and information transfer).
There are many things that make an organism a good one to work with
experimentally. Most animals (fish, insects, mammals, whatever) are
simply not suitable to manipulation (rearing in the lab, doing
appropriate experiments, whatever). And then, if you choose to invest
time in working with a specific organisms, it is enormously helpful if
there exists a background of information on that species and on the
problem you are pursuing. Danio rerio has proven to be extremely
amenable to research AND the information concerning both its use and its
biology (molecular, developmental, cellular, etc) is large and growing
larger. These features make the animal an attractive one to work with.
None of this speaks against working with other organisms in any manner.
An enormous ammount of recent work on D. rerio is coming from labs with
backgrounds in Drosophila; labs asking similar questions of both
systems, insect and vertebrate. And in a comparative or
evolutionary sense, D. rerio, can provide molecules and other information
useful for export into other species. And frankly, information on other
species has and is useful to work on zebrafish.
Well, these views may be pretty personal to myself, but I hope they
provide some answer to your question.
Richard Vogt (Internet: vogt at biol.scarolina.edu) (803) 777-8998
Department of Biology, University of South Carolina, Columbia SC 29208
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