The Hyderabad based Center for Cellular and Micro Biology (CCMB) has set up first of its kind Zebra fish facility in the country to conduct research on Zebra fish and find out curative solutions for human diseases such as cancer, neural conditions and eye diseases.
According to Dr. Rakesh K Mishra, director of CCMB, the genomic traits of Zebra fish have a lot in common with humans. The genomic configurations and functions of Zebra fish are similar to that of human genetic system. As per scientific findings about 70 per cent of protein coding attributes and 84 per cent of diseases causing genes in humans are present in Zebra fish.
“With similar genomic functionality and configuration found in humans and Zebra fish, today the scientists prefer Zebra fish as their ideal model for genetic manipulation to identify the root cause of various diseases and in the process explore appropriate palliatives,” informed Dr. Rakesh.
The scientific community feels that functional equivalence or similar genome dynamics between humans and zebra fish has unfolded tantalizing opportunities in discovering answers to a plethora of medical problems including cancer, neural and eye diseases.
Explaining further, as to why Zebra fish is preferred as an ideal model for genetic modifications, the CCMB director says that the main advantage with zebra fish is its transparent innards or anatomy which is visible to the naked eye. “The transparent body structure of the zebra fish makes it easier and convenient for scientists to monitor the mutations and changes that occur as a result of genetic manipulations and introduction of disease-related mutagens. This helps in to zero in on the causative factors of a disease and also enable us to come out with possible medical solutions for a problem,” explained Dr. Rakesh.
Another important feature about Zebra fish is its amazing regenerative capacity, wherein the fish can recreate broken appendages along the body axis like the fins, and tail and also repairing and rejuvenating heart muscles and the eyes.
According to scientists, Zebra fish gives the advantage of monitoring morphological development right from its embryonic stage to its adult phase which helps the scientists to isolate the regenerative components in the gene. “Our main focus is identification of this regenerative factor in the zebra fish, which will help open up possibilities in replacement and repair human body parts,” informed the director.