Retinal regeneration in zebrafish (w/ Video)

July 30, 2014 by Keith Hautala

University of Kentucky biologist Ann Morris is studying retinal regeneration in zebrafish to find ways to combat human eye diseases.

The small, minnow-like fish have eyes that develop in a way very similar to humans. Unlike humans, however, have the ability to regenerate following an injury. Diseases of the retina are a leading cause of blindness in older adults.

"With zebrafish the embryos develop outside the mother, and they are completely transparent. And development occurs very rapidly," Morris said. "So we can study the process of the development of eye under the light microscope in a dish, and it only takes a couple days to happen."

How is it that zebrafish can regenerate retinal cells and we can't? Morris says the answer is suspended between two distinct possibilities.

"One is that everybody had the ability to regenerate, and that ability in certain lineages was eventually lost," she said. "So as mammals evolved, somehow they lost the ability to regenerate , but perhaps all the mechanism is still there, in their genome, so we need to find those switches and turn it back on.

The video will load shortly

"The other possibility though is that certain vertebrates evolved that ability whereas others didn't. And so it's possible that mammals can't regenerate neurons because they just don't have that mechanism. I happen to believe it's probably more of the former, that some of those abilities are there and they're latent and we have to discover how to reactivate them.

Explore further: New method to grow zebrafish embryonic stem cells can regenerate whole fish

Related Stories

Study identifies how zebrafish regrow their brains

November 9, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—An international team of scientists has discovered the mechanism by which zebrafish can re-grow brain neurons after they have suffered traumatic brain injury, and that this mechanism is associated with ...

Recommended for you

Success in the 3-D bioprinting of cartilage

April 28, 2017

A team of researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy has managed to generate cartilage tissue by printing stem cells using a 3-D-bioprinter. The fact that the stem cells survived being printed in this manner is a success in itself. ...

Mouse teeth providing new insights into tissue regeneration

April 27, 2017

Researchers hope to one day use stem cells to heal burns, patch damaged heart tissue, even grow kidneys and other transplantable organs from scratch. This dream edges closer to reality every year, but one of the enduring ...

Dentistry research ID's novel marker for left-handedness

April 27, 2017

Individuals with a slender lower face are about 25 percent more likely to be left-handed. This unexpected finding was identified in 13,536 individuals who participated in three national surveys conducted in the United States.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.