The Zebrafish, popular in aquariums across the world, has the ability to regenerate and repair damage to it’s spine. They use proteins found in their bodies to accomplish this feat.
Given the difficulty that mammals have in repairing spinal damage in general, scientists are studying the protein in Zebrafish to see what can be learned and what medical insight they can gain.
- when the zebra fish’s spinal cord is severed, dozens of genes are activated by the injury. Within days, they produce new molecules and proteins to bridge the gap between the severed spine.
- Humans and zebra fish share many genes, and the human protein is nearly 90% similar in its amino acids to the zebra fish’s.
- The zebra fish belongs to the minnow family and is native India, Pakistan and the Himalayan region. It is widely used in scientific research because if it’s regenerative abilities, and was the first vertebra to be cloned.
“In a study published in the journal Science, Researchers at Duke University say the zebrafish is able to completely heal its spine — even after it was severed — because of a protein that helps to rebuild damaged spinal nerves.”
Photo by berarma