Toxin Model of Autism
Zebrafish normally show a preference for conspecifics, or other members of their own species. Social preference is fundamental for other social behaviors which in humans can be observed in newborns. Neuro typical infants show an immediate preference for looking at humans faces. For zebrafish, which develop ex-utero, social preference can be observed by around 1 week of age and is typically fully established by week 3 (Dreosti et al., 2020). Because social preference develops after hatching, it affords us an opportunity to investigate social development in a way we could not otherwise do so with humans.
Each zebrafish is placed into the Social Chamber at the center and their behavior is recorded. Each recording is then analyzed through a third party tool, BehaviorCloud. Through this analysis tool, the central chamber is virtually divided into two zones: Social Zone (dark blue) and Total Perimeter Zone (light blue). The Social Zone is set to the side where the stimulus is placed at either end of the social chamber.
Recording Analysis Demonstration
Each zebrafish's social behavior is analyzed before and after the stimulus zebrafish are place at either end of the social testing chamber. The BehaviorCloud tool tracks their motion and quantifies the total duration each tested zebrafish spends in the designated social zone. Social Preference in zebrafish is quantified as a significant increase in the time spent in the social zone once the stimulus zebrafish have been presented.
Behavior Pattern Demonstration
BehaviorCloud can also provide us with a trace of their behavior for additional validation of analysis and of the effectiveness of the tracking itself.