Model Organisms


Danio rerio are vertebrates, neural function and connectivity will share similarities to other vertebrates, like mice and humans. As such, findings from zebrafish can more readily be generalized to humans. Further, at the stage of development we use zebrafish for research (0-14 dpf), the animals have relatively few neurons. In fact, zebrafish (5 dpf) have about the same number of neurons as a fruit fly. The vertebrate nervous system, useful biological attributes (i.e., small size and translucency), and an ever-expanding set of molecular tools make zebrafish an ideal species to understand, at a basic level, the function/dysfunction of the nervous system.


Rattus norvegicus is vertebrate used extensively in research. Due to their genetic similarity to humans, rats are used to model numerous human psychiatric conditions, as well as diseases. Their closer genetic similarity to humans, compared to some other model organisms, they are helpful in research where anatomical and physiological mechanisms are studied. Furthermore, social behavior and other higher cognitive functions, relative to Danio rerio and other model organisms, can be studied with a greater degree of extrapolation, or generalizability to humans. Their small size compared to larger animals, and their shorter lifespan, also makes rats less costly to maintain.