Mutant Glowing-Brained Zebrafish Might Help Explain How Our Brains Work

These little fish brains light up like Christmas trees.

The fish are sick and tired of all the jokes about how little they have going on in their heads. It turns out, when you get right down to it, there’s a symphony of neural activity in even the tiniest of brains.

The newest research group at the Nobel prize-wining Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience in Norway plans to use genetically modified zebrafish to study how brains work when the creatures are just swimming about and living their fishy lives.

These little cuties have a lot to say about how brains work.

This is possible because larval zebrafish have transparent flesh, and mutant larval zebrafish have neurons that light up when they fire, so scientists can just look in with a microscope and see basically what’s going on. This is what that looks like:

And here, because they’re awesome, are some sweet pics of the inner workings of zebrafish, courtesy of ZEISS Microscopy:

This is a zebrafish.

This is a zebrafsh embryo.

This is a zebrafish heart.

This is a zebrafish head.
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