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NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development logo
Research for a Lifetime
|Video clip of zebrafish swimming.
|Narrator: Researchers who study human development rely on animal models, such as zebrafish, to gain insight into growth and movement.
|Video clip of single, young zebrafish darting.
|Narrator: Zebrafish have an advantage over other animal models because they develop quickly...
|Photograph of two, young zebrafish in a tube.
|Narrator: …within just a few days.
|Zebrafish viewed in a 3-dimensional scientific browser, with fluorescent colors marking different parts of the fish.
|Narrator: They’re also transparent, enabling researchers to visualize development in real time.
|Time-lapse video of a developing zebrafish embryo. The cell, yolk, and chorion are labelled with black lines and text.
|Narrator: A fertilized zebrafish egg has three main components: the single cell, the yolk, and a protective membrane, called the chorion.
|Cells divide symmetrically.
|Narrator: After the first cell division, cells continue to divide symmetrically. These steps are controlled by genetic instructions from the mother. But after the 1,000 cell stage, the embryo’s genetic instructions take over, a process called the midblastula transition.
|The embryo rotates, and an outline of a fish becomes more apparent.
|Narrator: The next step is called gastrulation, where the embryo forms 3 distinct layers. Genes direct cells in each layer to develop into different types of tissue.
|The eyes become apparent. An eye is marked with a black line and text.
|Narrator: Then, the eye develops.
|The embryo continues to rotate and twitch.
|Narrator: Later, the embryo moves for the very first time.
|The embryo now has a distinct tail region and body region, and it continues to move.
|Narrator: Pigment cells, which provide color, form in the eyes and trunk of the body.
|The embryo has dark spots, and cells move throughout the heart and blood vessels.
|Narrator: The heart beats and blood cells move through blood vessels.
|The embryo appears larger in size within the chorion and continues to move. Time-lapse video ends.
|Narrator: Now, the embryo is ready to hatch from the chorion. In three more days, after the yolk is absorbed…
|Video clip of young zebrafish eating food at the bottom of a fish tank.
|Narrator: …the larvae will begin to eat.
Special thanks to
Brant Weinstein, Ph.D.
Harold Burgess, Ph.D.
Valerie Maholmes, Ph.D.
NICHD Zebrafish Core
(Edit/effect) NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development logo appears and then fades.
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