The NC3Rs has published a report about the research it funds to improve the welfare of zebrafish used in biomedical research.
Zebrafish and their embryos are used extensively for developmental and toxicology studies and are increasingly being used as alternatives to mammals to model biological and disease processes:
- The zebrafish genome is well defined and scientists can introduce genetic changes to mimic aspects of human disease.
- The larvae develop very quickly and biological processes can be studied over a few days, where similar experiments using mammals could last weeks or months.
- Zebrafish embryos are transparent and can be non-invasively imaged. They can be used as a partial replacement for some in vivo experiments and in high throughput experiments, for example drug screening.