Zebrafish are small tropical fish being used to help genetic research into human cancers and developmental diseases.

Listen to the RNZ interview with Dr Julia Horsfield and PhD student Jenny Rhodes, looking at Zebrafish and genetic research.

Zebrafish are a good model to use for studying human diseases because their eggs are transparent and external to the parent. This means you can see the embryo growing in real time. Scientists can gain insights into the development of human diseases by manipulating genes in the embryo and studying their development.

This article, Secret of body orientation discovered, gives another example of the importance of zebrafish in research.

See the video conference: Dr Love's zebrafish.

Julia Horsfield and PhD student Jenny Rhodes from the Dunedin School of Medicine, where they have recently opened a zebrafish facility, explain their research into human cancers using zebrafish as a model. Their aim is to add knowledge that will generate effective cures for human cancers, particularly breast cancer.

Programme details: Our Changing World

Published 16 September 2009