The National Institutes of Health website Clinicaltrials.gov estimates there are more than 48 million Americans currently enrolled in clinical or observational studies. While mice have traditionally been the other most commonly studied animal along with humans — mice and rats make up some 95 percent of animals used in research — the zebrafish has become perhaps the fastest-growing segment of the research population.
Zebrafish, relatives of the minnow, are native to the Southeastern Himalayan region of Asia and are found in parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Burma. They are a small fish, reaching about 2.5 inches in the wild and topping out around an inch and a half in aquariums. The first scientific study of zebrafish began nearly 40 years ago, but it has been in the past 10 that the use of zebrafish in research has boomed.
Learn about the recently developed Zebrafish Online Husbandry Education course.