I was working in Memorial Union today, trying to figure out what I think the phrase “random pro-p group” should mean, when I noticed that the guy in the booth next to mine was reading an 800-page conference proceedings about zebrafish. Well, I just had to ask. What’s so interesting about zebrafish?
It turns out that developmental biologists are BFF with zebrafish, whose growth to maturity is both very visible — their eggs are transparent — and very, very fast — from a single cell to a creature with a functioning nervous system in 24 hours, and to something resembling a fish in 4 days. So you can follow many hundreds of generations of these guys from fertilization on, watching closely on a microsopic scale, making different kinds of cells light up so you can see what they’re up to, flicking different genomic switches on and off … SCIENCE!
All material above paraphrased from my conversation with unnamed zebrafish expert, and not checked against an authoritative source — please do not use in your term paper, zebrafish Googlers! Perhaps a better resource would be Zebrafish — the peer-reviewed journal. Or the University of Oregon zebrafish FAQ, where you can find the answer to “How can we obtain mutant stocks of zebrafish for our high school lab?” Gotta go, I think I just had a great idea for a low-budget horror movie.