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Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Zebrafish Will Develop Its Nervous System in The Time You Are Awake Today (!)

      This week's post was inspired by the Zebrafish Research Center at Smith College.

       Well, that discovery, and this Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) image of a zebrafish embryo:

      These remarkable fish are the topic of many research projects throughout the world, including at Smith College in Northampton, MA, USA. They are used in researching cancer, spinal cord development, sleep-related disorders, and the autism spectrum.

      "Smith Professor Mary Harrington has used the Zebrafish Research Center for her teaching and research on circadian rhythms, or sleep-wake cycles. She uses a group of specially designed zebrafish with a firefly protein attached to their circadian gene."

     "The gene causes the fish to bioluminesce each time their circadian clock turns on. Harrington and her students can add drugs to the water, then observe changes in the fish’s circadian rhythms to explore sleep-related disorders like depression."

      Zebrafish are ideal for this type of research, she explains. “They’re transparent, so light just comes right out of them.”

       The rapidity of zebrafish development makes them ideal research subjects. During the past 17 hours of this day (extremely busy for me and maybe for you, too), a zebrafish nervous system has developed!

       . . .Which could lead to this:

       Or even this. . .

Ah, the Denver Bronco-North Carolina Panther (Hello, Kitty?) hype has even gotten to Partial Ellipsis of the Sun.

{Here's some tutu fun from today at school. . .}

Any experience in Zebrafish research?


  1. When I was a teen, I had zebrafish in my aquarium. When I was in grad school, I studied fireflies. But I never considered combining them. I've cared for zebra finches. I've played Go Fish. But, GloFish? The closest I've come to GM fish was when I drove my Chevy to the levee. As for the effect of 200 million gallons of oil on fish: which company was it that owned the Deepwater Horizon? And what did the first of its 2-letter name stand for? And where do they eat all that oil-fried fish and chips? Coincidence?

    1. Kinda makes your BP rise, eh?

      Yea, I thought combining firefly protein and zebrafish was a delightful idea! I was surprised to see there's an actual circadian gene that turns on. So cool. . .

    2. jan,
      You are on a roll! You must have had an extra bowl of Alphabits for breakfast (like Will Shortz), or alphabet soup for lunch (like schoolchildren everywhere).

      Another great topic. PEOTS runs the gamut from Agates to Zebrafish!

      Since you reference both zebrafish and the impending Denver/Carolina clash, I cannot resist directing your attention to this puzzle that appeared in Puzzleria! more than a year ago. Look for the “Sporty Easy As Pie Slice: Hippo triple-team.”


    3. Backronyms was a new front to me, Lego. . .

      Tutu fun added above. We are all a little crazed here, including this teacher ;-)

  2. I thought we got fission chips from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Sorry for the con-fusion.

    1. You've been saving that one, eh, David? It caused a chortle here ;-).

  3. Robotic rescue roaches. Search, maybe, but rescue? Doesn't look strong enough to pull anybody out of the rubble. Given that, and their superior chemosensing, why not just train regular roaches to sniff out victims? And how do you get humanoid robots to fight the urge to step on them?

    1. I am with you on searching and, ew, the urge to step on the buggers is strong all the way 'round.

  4. Replies
    1. I'd not heard about that this past weekend. Thanks for the scoop, jan.

      1.2 million orange-clad people in downtown Denver today. The noise was heard five miles away. (No meteorites involved, though).

    2. Hare Krishna convention? ;-)

    3. Ha! I have not encountered Hare Krishna in a long time. Have you?

    4. Last July 18, on the High Line in New York. (I remembered because I posted something about the visit to this blog.) I didn't donate, but I resisted saying anything provocative about the Buddhists' treatment of Rohingya in Burma.

  5. New post on "Vindaloo? No, Vedauwoo: Please Take it for Granite in Wyoming" is now up.